November 22, 2013 Leave a comment
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve decided to devote each day leading up to one of my favorite Holidays with a person or group of people for whom I am thankful. There are a lot of people in my life, in the 41 years I’ve walked this Earth, that have made a difference. So, I hope I have enough days between now and Turkey Day to show my appreciation. Here goes.
First and foremost, I thank my beautiful wife, Maria. Not only is she the love of my life, but her unwavering support for me has been nothing short of amazing.
Okay, I’m not the first guy to start a speech or long-winded talk by thanking his wife. I also won’t be the first to sit up here and say my wife is my partner. Or that she and I are great teammates. You’ve probably heard that before. You may have even heard analogies and references where men compare the relationship with their wives with the likes of great entertainment and sports duos like Montana and Rice, Jordan and Pippen, Bebe and CeCe, or Hall & Oats.
Okay, I’m probably dating myself a little (or a lotta) bit with those references, so how about this one: Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, the focal points of the 2-time defending NBA Champions Miami Heat. Dubbed by many as Batman and Robin, that might be the more applicable analogy for the relationship my wife and I share.
You might expect me to say what you might expect most men to say, that I am Lebron James. I am the multiple MVP winner, the face of the league. And if I am Lebron, then Maria, well, she must be Dwyane Wade, a great player, but subordinate to me.
The All-Star in our family, the MVP, the one who is carrying this team we call the Blufords, is my wife, Maria.
You see, about a year ago, I made the decision to pursue my passion and my dream of helping, inspiring, and encouraging people through fitness. I believe whole-heartedly in the importance of exercise, not only for physical well-being, but for mental and emotional health. And more importantly, having just turned 41 and faced several of the life challenges that people cite as preventing them from continuing their fitness- school, work, marriage, parenthood, age- I am convinced I’ve discovered in what I call Ultimate Muscle Confusion the perfect system for sustainable fitness.
Oh, back to Maria (after that short commercial break). Without blinking an eye, she supported my decision to walk away from an ascending career in Corporate Finance, a career that, after earning an MBA from Santa Clara University (for which we are still paying for, by the way) saw me excel at both a CFO and VP of Finance for two successfully sold startups. When I told her I wanted to do what I felt God wanted me to do, she said ‘ok’. When I told her it might be a “few” months before I was able to start making money doing it, she said ‘ok’. When I said things would be stressful for a little while, she said ‘ok’.
What an amazing woman she is. Maria “Lebron” Bluford. The Queen, if you will. She is our team’s main scorer, the one we turn to when we need a bucket. Without her, our odds of winning are slim to none. But make no mistake about it. I understand fully that as her sidekick, my role is also important. Like Wade with Lebron, I support her whenever and wherever I can. When I can’t score, I can rebound (help clean the house) and play defense (pick up the kids and help them with their homework). And even though I am not the player I once was (remember, Wade was considered a top 5 player for much of his career and won a Championship BEFORE Lebron came to Miami), there will still be days (games) when I remind myself and her that I can pick up the slack when absolutely necessary.
The main difference, thankfully, in comparing Maria and me with Lebron and Wade, is that the roles of those two are cemented. The gap between the two, mainly because of age, is widening. In contrast, I traded in my pencils and laptops for dumbbells and resistance bands so that I could fulfill my calling. But I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think it also presented the best future for my family.
I firmly believe that my decision to trade in suits and board meetings for athletic apparel and fitness bootcamps will provide more riches than I could ever need. The financial success my family will enjoy will be trumped only by the satisfaction of helping thousands of people change their lives.
When that day comes, I’ll once again be our team’s main scorer. I’ll be the captain, the MVP. And if I’m being perfectly honest, that’s what I want. Not only as a former athlete and competitor. Not only as a man. But also as a guy who wants to give to his wife and children the best of everything. I am confident I will be Lebron again one day. And Maria will be Dywane Wade. Yes, I’m convinced that one day I’ll once again be Batman.
But for now I’m happy to be Robin.