Robert Fowler Family YMCA is a special place. I may be dating myself here but the Y is like Cheers. It’s the place you go where everybody knows your name. It’s the place you go where people are genuine and true.
For me it all started in a giant park at Universal Studios Florida. I know it's a bit strange but that is the truth. It started when I was at the front of the line of the brand new ride and I was too big to fit in it. I needed help. It may take a village to raise a child but it takes a community to inspire a 305-pound man. That community was the Y. I started out walking and taking spin classes.
I was starting to lose weight but that wasn't good enough. The Y is more than just classes. The whole gym was there. Soon I was lifting weights, making friends, and learning from other people. I learned proper stretching and lifting techniques and was well on my way to losing the weight. I finally transitioned to running and was inspired by the amazing athletes we have.
At that point I made a giant transition in my life. I'm not sure how to explain what happened but - I transformed. I became very focused on my health and the health of my family. Instead of sitting on the couch zoning out with the kids, I wanted to go camping and hiking and ANYTHING where we could all be together just doing! What a transformation. I found a whole world that growing up as the fat kid I had never discovered. Best of all I had my kids to discover this with me. I had the pleasure of seeing it through my eyes and theirs. The Y was instrumental in that.
I began coaching in my kids sports. I found that I had a wicked competitive streak but was happy to throw it to the wind when you see a herd of 3-year-old kids chasing after a tiny soccer ball. I learned the sheer joy in a tiny little girl’s eye when she made her first basket after an entire season not to mention the extreme excitement of her parents. I learned that instead of watching the game I could still be part of it. I was the coach, and I loved every second of it!
The Y has made me a little bit more of the person my kids can be proud of. I hope this letter inspires all those that are on the same journey I was and still am on!