Charles Shepherd, one of my best friends, my suite-mate throughout college and just an all around great guy is currently mourning the loss of his mother Deborah Shepherd. She had been sick for a while and battled long and hard, my heart hurts.
He is the father of two amazing children and married to a lovely wife who's beautiful inside and out. I can not imagine the suffering that he is going through right now. I can't think of the pain that I'd be going through if I lost my mother.
Mrs Shepherd took care of us so well back when we were freshmen in Drew Hall. I use to destroy the care packages she would send, talk about going through boxes of Reeses Peanut butter Cups and all kinds of snacks! I was an adopted son of hers, always having Shep forward my requests for the next package.
Although I had talked to her for years, I finally got to meet her at Charles and Robina's wedding in 2005 and she was all that I expected and more.
Today, make sure you hug your mother extra tight and if you can't do that, just place a call, tell them you love them and make sure they understand how much they mean to you! If you may not be on speaking terms with them, it's time for that to end, life is too short. Without them, we have no life.
Over the weekend, I had the honor of hosting a speed and agility camp in my hometown of Denver, Colorado. I took a trip out there and brought along two of my good friends, Kenta Bell and Mclean Cromer, who agreed to volunteer to help me out for the camp.
When we all got in on Friday, you know my first stop was over to Bren's house! Had to see my favorite person in the world! Friday evening, we hosted a meet and greet at my mom's house for all of the people who decided to volunteer to assist my efforts. I had a good time meeting some coaches in the area and listening to them share old stories about my coach Brooks. He sure is a legend in this track game.
I knew it was suppose to be kind of chilly in Denver, but I really wasn't ready for what awaited us on Saturday when I got up to get ready for the camp. It was a blanket of snow and ice out! The rental car had no ice scraper in it, so me and McLean were outside for about 15 minutes with hotel key cards trying to scrape the ice off the windows of the car. That was pure hell! Ask me where Kenta was at during this process and the answer would be, inside the lobby drinking coffee. I am glad that my mom and Harold were forward thinking because they reserved the football field as well as the gym in case of inclement weather. We had about 50 plus kids pre-registered for the event, but I was pretty worried about if anyone would show due to the weather!
It was great to be back at my old high school, Denver East and I am appreciative that they allowed me to use their facilities to put on my camp as well. It felt weird looking at my old dressing area in the football locker room and being back in the gym, a place I hadn't seen since 2000. We got to the school about an hour early to set up and get everything together for when everybody started to arrive. Even though the weather wasn't favorable, we still had about 30 kids and 12 volunteers out at the site. The kids were very attentive and really eager to learn some new stuff and listen to what it is all of us had to say to them.Harold took the kids through an informative dynamic warm up session and walked them through it step by step so that they could really understand what they were doing and why they were doing it.
After the warm up, we got right in to basic running mechanics and form. After the kids got a grasp on the technical aspects, they broke in to different groups and headed over to the stations that were set up. We had two different ladder drills, square cone drill, straight line cone drill, jump rope etc.
Legendary high school coach Don Gatewood came out and really took a hands on approach with the kids. He is in the Colorado High School Hall of Fame and in the USA Track and Field hall of fame as well. It was a great pleasure having someone of his stature come out and lend a hand to the efforts. My best friend Kelvin Doyle, a former Michigan State football player took the kids through the cone drills working on their agility.Kenta got the kids bounding better than they ever had! After his instruction, you could see the kids really grasp the concepts he was presenting to them.You know I hopped in and got the kids working on their arm action. Once you get the arms together, then everything else falls in to place.My sister came by and lent a hand watching over the babies.After we ended, the kids all received an autographed picture, camp t-shirt and camp water bottle. Big thanks to Randy, Rich and McLean for the design and product.
I really wanted to do something for the community that helped me reach the level of accomplishment I have so far. It is really important that you give something back to the community. Hosting this camp offered me a great reflection point on my life. I really understand how the kids look up to me so much and would love to accomplish the things I have and do the things that I have done. I may take going over to Europe summer after summer for granted for instance, but it means the world to the little ones. I never really realize it until I actually got with them this weekend. Being a positive black male role model in the area is something that I look forward to. I spoke to them as a group and really let them know the importance of getting their education and going to college, which to me, is one of the most important things you can do in life.
To try to help them with that goal, I am starting a scholarship fund to assist in their efforts to attend college. It will start out as something small, just providing book scholarships to kids this spring/summer, but I hope to grow that as well in the future.
I had such a blast putting on this camp! It couldn't have possibly went off as smooth as it did without Harold and my mom at the forefront getting the information out to all the people that needed it.
A real big thanks to Coach Gatewood, Coach Vaden, Chris Turner, Gary, Kellen, Farley and Cameron Burl, George Crunkelton, Yolanda, Justin and Steve Johnson, Annette Tannander and Carl McKinley for coming out and helping me put on this wonderful event. I can't wait until next year to do it even digger and better!
I had been hemming and hawing for years about undergoing this procedure, but I finally went on ahead and got it done. I am very happy that I did!
I had been exclusively wearing my glasses for a week leading up to the surgery. It was really a difference for me, I never wear my glasses and for me to have had to wear them all day everyday, it was a big deal for me. I think I had a headache everyday from wearing them! When I was headed in to the room, I wasn't very nervous at all, they told me the procedure only lasts for about five minutes per eye. It's amazing the things we do with technology. The most uncomfortable thing I felt was when they put those clamps on my eyelids so that I couldn't blink, but after that, I didn't feel a thing. I definitely could smell it though LOL. The laser buzzed for about 30 seconds and that was it, on to the next eye. When I got home, I crashed for almost four hours and once I woke up, I was seeing very clear already. Things were just a bit hazy on the edges, but I could comfortable sit around and watch TV and drive wherever I needed to go.
The funny thing to me is these eye shields that I have to wear when I go to sleep so that I don't rub my eyes. It's pretty ingenious on whoever invented the shields part, I would have probably rubbed my eyes out of my head! My eyes do get fairly dry during the course of the night. I have prescriptions for about four different type of eye drops, I stay all the way on schedule when it comes to doing those drops at the specified time.
I had a post-op the day after the surgery and I was seeing 20/25, basically as well as I was seeing with my current contact prescription. They informed me that my vision is at about 70% of what the final result will be. I can't wait to see what the final product will be.
To anyone considering this procedure, I would say it is a must have! I'm glad I have rid myself of the burden of contacts or glasses! It has thrown me for a loop at night though, every night, I head to my bathroom to get ready to take my contacts out. I guess 13 years of wearing contacts won't break that habit in two/three days LOL.
Dr. Filutowski and his staff were awesome and did an incredible job!