I had the privilege of being part of a surprise party for a good friend of mine who turns 50 tomorrow. To usher in the new decade, this mad man, accompanied by other mad men, paddled from Oceanside to deep inside the belly of Mission Bay, 52 kilometers to be exact.
This 50 year old former Olympian, father of two (both possible future olympians), husband to the sweetest, toughest and most loyal Brit. you could ever wanna know, is a pillar for his family, his community and an example of a gentleman to everyone he comes into contact with. A former lifeguard and now a paramedic/fire fighter, this guys finds another 30 hours each week to build and nurture the most resilient youth and senior paddle club in the US.
His club was but a dream 20 years ago, but 100,000 hours later, he has helped mold and shape the bodies, spirits and hearts of countless kids. As he finished his 52k trek today he was flanked by a dozen kids who wanted to be by their coach on his monumental day. On the beach was another 30 or so adults whose families have been forever fortified by the teaching and coaching Coach Barlow has bestowed on them year after year.
As many of you know 2011 has been a year of repairing, rebuilding and reinventing for me. My wounds are healing and my spirit is rising. Surrounding myself with this kind of “family” is itself a healing balm. It is a privilege to volunteer my strength and conditioning services to our club. It’s a blessing to have the SDCKT family as part of the fabric of my life.
Coach Barlow, may the next 50 years be even better than the first 50, thank you for realizing your dream and… for finally moving out of my age group.
Friendship, Strength and Honor,