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Landslide

July 16, 2009, 10:19 a.m. (ET)

What do Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins, Dixie Chicks, The Dance, and Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac all have in common?  Whether acapella, acoustic guitar, solo piano, or more - each have sung the powerful song "Landslide" in a beautiful way, and those songs I have been playing over and over on my 30 plus hour journey home from Vanuatu today as I am flooded with thoughts of  a coach, friend and father who through his spirit and leadership by example, guided Olympians, Paralympians and just good kids, and bad, to change for the better.  

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides, can I handle the seasons of my life....

I spoke often in every stop I made in Vanuatu,  with the teachers, players, referees, and coaches I just had the chance to work with about those powerful Olympic words of Citius, Altius, Fortius, for that is what we all can use to guide our lives - with time for reflection and family.  Wisdom is seen in the South Pacific in the elders, for what they share by example and mentor in their own way, the meaning of each of their small island's culture - varying from each other island over time, and to see volleyball be embraced in such a positive, joyful way, just like what we saw in Atlanta for the Boys JOVCs, Miami for the Girls JOVC,  the Festival in Phoenix, Vail for the JO Beach VB Tour stop, and Naval Station Newport for the Wounded Warriors. The latter being my last time to work with Jimi. 

And I'm afraid of changing....But time makes you bolder, children get older and I'm getting older too....

In talking on the VBF Beach Training Courts with Steve Anderson, who hails from near Louisville KY, he shared how he is seeking significance and more meaning in his life.  He is the only black American to coach volleyball in the Olympics - helping his duo win Bronze in Atlanta, Gold in Sydney and make the medal round in Beijing, but he too is now seeking to give back to the sport.  So he joined me in Vanuatu to help the talented women Beach players they have there on their journey from a far away island in Vanuatu with a population of just a few hundred people - to winning the Oceania Gold medal. Mila's return home brought home a champion who had left her family to follow that path of Citius, Altius, Fortius, and a role model for the children, and women of her native land. It also meant a party for several days...richly deserved.  Steve and I talked about his coming back also to speak to JO coaches at next year's event, and an AVP event or two, giving back to the sport  in his own native land.

So when I get home tonite at 1030pm, I will be picked up by my kids, as even children get older, and wisked away, tired as I may be, to join them and their friends at the opening show of the newest Harry Potter film at midnite. We already have the tickets, I just hope my flight lands on time....while I like sitting in the front row for most presentations, sitting there for a movie really can put a crick in your neck, and l already have one from the flight from Fiji to Los Angeles.

The tomorrow, I will also re-read Viktor Frankel's A Man's Search for Meaning. If you have not picked up on the value of this book - showing how people can endure any level of suffering as long as they know their life has meaning - then please go get it and read it. Then get your team to read it, and report back to you on it.  You can never be too young to learn that many sources in life give meaning to each individual's journey - love, family, history, work, and no matter what brick walls get put in front of you - you can find meaning and growth through each and every one.

Even the loss of a dear friend or family member, whose life ended doing what he loved the climbing of a challenging fourteener   as we call them here  (there are 52 of them) - called Capitol Peak.  The Olympic and Paralympic movement was so fortunate to have Jimi for the years of involvement he gave us all, and the changes he guided so many to make to be swifter, higher and stronger. I hope each of you reading these words today will go make one of those meaningful changes you have sought to make, and give a family member a special call as well. As the great Xbox commercial put it after the 30 second journey from birth to grave...Life is Short....Play More...

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills...

Rest in Peace Jimi, I see your reflection in the Pacific Hills too, even if they are only a few meters high above water, in the water you so loved to tred, they rise for thousands of meters from the searoots, formed by the rim of fire that you carried to so many in your passion and love for us all.

Kessel Blog

 

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