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(7 years ago – how high they’ve climbed since then!)

10/21/14

“The one thing all famous authors, world class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors, and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things.”

I love this quote especially at this part of your young lives and the vast opportunities ahead of you that can lead to the fulfillment of your greatest aspirations.  I say that with a touch of jealousy but I say it recognizing that many of my greatest dreams have been and are still being accomplished.

Case in point. I wanted to play varsity baseball at Lakewood High School since it was one of the finest programs in the country at the time.  I did it lacking size and formal training other than what I learned on my own and watching it every chance I could.  I just practiced things I saw on TV on my own (like Christian does almost every day throwing a tennis ball off a wall or hitting whiffle balls), with friends, and through youth baseball leagues.  Honestly by Lakewood standards at the time, I was a marginal player and who knows what I’d have done at other schools.  Still though, my goal was to play Lancer baseball and to do that, I didn’t add a lot of distractions to my routine of school and friends (girlfriends just weren’t part of the equation with most of us until later).  I worked hard but it didn’t feel like work because I loved the endless hours on the field not only working with my teammates, but numerous minor and major league players who worked out at our field who let me train with, and learn from them.  God, life was great then!  In the end, I just found a way and made it MY way so that it happened and I guarantee you that it was not by accident.

Again, it took a lot of “work”, dedication, love of ME, dismissal of thoughts of doubt and limitations, and sometimes invoking the “Dico bad ass” qualities my father instilled in me.  And guess what?  The dream happened and continued by what I learned from playing there and applying what I discovered afterword on my own and then teaching you boys and there’s a lot of promise in your baseball futures.  [Jason now with two CIF championships, all-CIF team honors, and playing at U of Santa Clara; Christian taking over Jason’s shortstop position at Redondo High and committing to play at U of Washington after he graduates high school in 2019 as only a sophomore this year]

Next, I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was in grade school and though not one member of my extended family graduated college, I became the first to do so and then earned my doctorate.  During the way I can acknowledge that I got sidetracked and distracted of my own doing which almost overwhelmed the dream.  However despite the delay, I found the way to get through law school and passed the Bar exam on my first attempt by making it MY way.  In the end I became a well-respected attorney in my specialty and during the process, became a partner at my last firm which is one of the finest in California.  My guess is that unless Jason and Christian get their college diploma & MBA or doctorate, my extended family will have to wait another generation for that to happen.

So here I am today almost a year from traumatic injury to my brain, body, and confidence and let’s be honest, what I’ve achieved has been no accident.  I’m not going to pretend to be noble and assert that this started out easy and I’ve never downplayed my ownership of anything that has happened to me – remember we own everything resulting from our choices and cowardly to assert otherwise!  I initially was angry at myself, the doctors who doubted me, and unfortunately too many times at Deb.  Then when I accepted this as a challenge and armed with only really only my basic resources and sometimes less than that, I discovered I still had in me more than enough of what I needed and they were the same things I started with in my youth.

I found ways to achieve the simplest of goals and then made them MY WAYS to accomplish more magnificent personal goals, both measurable and abstract.  I am a product of my parents creation and their influence, and when the “Dico bad ass” was called upon, it never failed me.  I think most will agree that with ownership of the beginning, this recovery is also owned by me and my choices.  I’ve said before, I’m in “the make it happen” stage of my life and so far, I have!

I really don’t care how anyone characterizes or describes my recovery – it’s only important how I do and I have never been prouder of anything I’ve ever done in my life because of what it’s ended up doing for others in it or just happen to cross its path.  I’ve found the best part of me and then shared it with everyone starting with you guys.  It’s important to know that you guys and your mom are important to me which is why I attempt to share my thoughts with all of you and even those outside that circle.  I see a beautiful life for all of us and one of my goals is to help you realize how blessed you should feel.

I discovered a wealth of kindness, humor (you be the judge), optimism, determination, commitment, strength (inner and outer) generosity, empathy, love of family and friends, love for the existence of my fellow man (even though many still annoy me), and (I think) insight and guidance.  It’s funny but I now realize I had a wealth of all of these things to start with and the best that was required uncovered and produced the best in me!

Now I should not have to remind you but I will of the following – you have all of these things!  You young Dicos have it in your blood.  Most importantly, you have been gifted beyond all limitations through the love, support, and sacrifice of your parents so anything is possible if you find the right way and make it YOUR way!

You want to exercise the right to complain about anything less, “well this big bad world doesn’t owe you a thing”, and “all your bitching, wining, pitching a fit, GET OVER IT!”  Keep moving forward, higher, and infinitely farther because you are equipped with everything you need.  If you don’t, I’m going to ask God to have us trade places because otherwise, you’re wasting both His and your time with only praying for and not doing the things that you can achieve with what He has already given you.  Now “do something with your life!”

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