Look Around and Be Inspired

  Not much in this world is accomplished without perspiration; but before accomplishment begins, motivation is a must. And inspiration is imperative.
  Sometimes we are moved by events in the distance, or by people we have never actually met, but more often than not, friends and family all around us give us the drive to succeed, or simply the example we need to be good people and treat others with respect.
  The golden rule is not a cliché – Treat others as you wish to be treated - it is a guiding light we should all strive to practice every day.
  Every year about this time, we continue to be inspired by one of the greatest people we have ever known. When the Golden Ladies Classic Tournament rolls around, Jeanette Robinson reminds us that with a positive outlook and hard work, almost anything is possible.
  This year, the 27th annual edition of this wonderful event added another inspiring chapter to bowling’s rich history. You may be thinking that 27 years is not so long or a particular milestone, but if you knew that Mrs. Robinson did not start this incredible event until she was 61 years young, you might do a double take at her continued involvement. She is without question not only the founder of the event, but its heart and soul. And she continues to be an inspiration to all of us.
  The winner of this year’s GLC was former PWBA star Jeanne Naccarato. She also won the title in 2009, but I’m sure this one was very emotional because it was the first without her beloved husband Stan. A few years ago we witnessed another similar event in Las Vegas when Jeanne won a PWBA doubles event with close friend Robin Romeo not long after both had lost their fathers.
  No doubt that Jeanne was inspired by both her dad and her husband. Great champions always have role models.
  CJ and I love to attend the GLC, and we had planned to be there this year, but we had to change our plans when we learned that our niece Meredith had suffered a stroke in Florida. It was a very frightening time for our family, and especially shocking because Meredith is only 52 years old.
  My sister and Meredith’s mom Lou Anne and Meredith’s brother Bo rushed to her side the day after it happened, and found her in a medically induced coma which left all of us holding our breath for several days. When the doctors brought her out of the coma, there was relief for family and friends, but the realization that a very long recovery is Meredith’s new reality tampered our joy just a little.
  I am the youngest of five siblings. My two older brothers are both gone, but my two older sisters continue to inspire me every day. Mike and Tony were my first heroes. Kate and Lou Anne are both remarkable women, and I doubt I’ll ever be able to re-pay all that I have learned from their love and example.
  Among all of our nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren, Meredith stands out. She started a women’s clothing and accessory business in Nashville many years ago before moving her family to Florida. Today, she owns a beautiful home on the water in Navarre.
  While we were there recently, our son Jonathan and I sat on the boat dock on the bay behind her house and watched a dolphin swim within a few feet and jump out of the water. My sister tells me that she thinks they come to visit Meredith. We have all read about the intelligence of these incredible creatures; and it makes me think that the dolphins must be wondering why Meredith has not been on the dock to greet them recently.
  But we are confident that she will be back on that dock and back running her business. Meredith is full of love and energy, and if anyone can recover from a setback like this one, she absolutely can and will.
  What has always made Meredith very special is her genuine love of life and all of those she encounters, and when word spread about her illness, countless friends came from everywhere to express their love and support. She always looks for the good in everyone.
  The business that she built has provided a very comfortable life for her family, and now it is her family and friends that will pray for her and take care of her for as long as it takes to recover.
  While working very hard on her business, Meredith did not miss a minute of being a wonderful mother to her son Avery. He is now playing baseball for South Alabama University. Their home is full of family photos and mementos from many family outings and vacations. One room looks like a shrine to baseball as it contains all of the trophies and items from Avery’s adventures through state championships and teams from little league to college.
  The baseball room and the rest of the house is a testament to the love Meredith has had for family, friends, and life.
  I’m sure many reading this have friends or family who has suffered a stroke. When it struck my niece, my thoughts turned to our friend Mark Roth. A stroke ended his glorious bowling career, but not his spirit. His wife Denise has been by his side every day. And he has been in our thoughts and prayers.
  And we will be with Meredith.
  For as long as it takes.


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