Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reposting: Call to Greatness

Reposting from June 2010:

Call to Greatness

In celebration of Father's Day this Sunday, I'd like to share a few thoughts on the importance of fathers.

Both men and women are called to greatness by God, each having a unique role to play. With respect to men, I believe our natural instinct is to be protectors and not predators. Okay ladies, please don't roll your eyes thinking, "Oh gosh what a load of male chauvinistic-ideological-mumbo-jumbo." Be patient as I think you will find my humble thoughts worthy of consideration.

Fathers, like mothers, have a significant impact on the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health of their children. Recent research suggests the presence and voice of a caring, loving father plays a huge role in shaping the mind and values of his children. Fatherless children are statistically more likely to commit violent crimes, drop out of school and commit suicide.

It is quite likely the picture painted by pop culture is creating a lot of confusion as to what manhood is really supposed to look like. Our current hyper-sexed society would have us fall for the selfishness of thinking it's the norm to use people and love things, when in reality we are called to love people, unconditionally, and use things. Many men struggle with this as their idea of what manhood is all about gets twisted and distorted by the unhealthy lure of pornography. At it's core the porn industry robs us of our manhood (and womanhood). It creates a "users" mentality. Certainly fatherhood, as it is written on our hearts, is much stronger than what we see on television or the big screen.

I am blessed to have three men in my life who have truly set the standard for me on the signficance of fatherhood and all things "man":

William J. Seng, my dad, who continues to be a source of encouragement and perseverance. He always found time for our soccer games and swim meets while working fifty+ hours a week. Growing up in a small southern Indiana town, he has instilled in me and my siblings the joy of pursuing our dreams.

Frank H. Seng, Jr, my grandfather (father's side), who worked tirelessly as a cabinet maker and general factory laborer. His trademark teasing in calling us little monkies while proclaiming he could out-swim, out-run, out-kick or out-throw us even into his 90s always brings a smile to my face on race day.

Albert E. Ingraham, my grandfather (mother's side), who was commited to providing for his wife and family as a dairy farmer and jack of all trades. His Maine humor and work ethic is a daily reminder for me to get my bum out the door and do the job right.

Wishing all dads a very happy Father's Day and encourage you to lead your families to greatness...William Wallace style (think Mel Gibson in Braveheart)!

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

RFR Pics

A few random pics from the relay with my bros...

 Tom brining it home strong with newphew Jack
 Kate & Graham pushing the finish
 it's all about speed in transition with the chip exchange
the crew pre-race (note my bro's board shorts for the swim -nice)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Racing for Recovery Sprint Triathlon: A Family Affair

This past weekend I ventured back to the Motor City to race a charity event with my brothers (Brian & Tom) called the Racing for Recovery Sprint Triathlon. My sister-in-law (Kate), who I coach, was also doing the sprint so it would be a family affair at beautiful Sterling State Park in Monroe, MI just south of Detroit. This is a fantastic race featuring the sprint and half Ironman distances with proceeds supporting a drug & alcohol recovery program. I hold the course record for the half and have won it the past two years. I was really looking forward to mixing things up this year and doing the sprint as a relay with my brothers as they have never done a triathlon. It had a special meaning for me with my older brother now being 14 years sober!

We of course had some fun rivalry and smack talk going on in the days leading up to the big race. Would my younger brother be able to eke out a faster swim time than his wife? How much time would I be able to put into her on the bike to aid my older brother’s efforts on the run? I was quite confident she would do well and keep us honest on the course.

Sans wetsuit & sporting his baggy board shorts Brian hit the waters of Lake Erie while I patiently waited for his arrival in T1. As many athletes, including Kate, flooded into transition, I continued to peer on the horizon for my bro. With what appeared to be some “sea” legs he made his way from the beach for our chip exchange to the cheers of my parents and nephews. My focus for the bike was to stay on the gas from the get-go and I was able to make good work of the flat 12 mile course. If I didn’t come off the bike appearing to have left it on the course I would for sure hear it from my brothers! Into T2 Tom and I were able to make a quick exchange and he was off for the 3.6 mile run. Looking around I asked, “Where’s Brian?” My Mom pointed over to a small tree where he was still lying down in the shade and apparently not feeling too spry from his 500m swim. I think he soon realized he was a bit “undertrained” with only one practice swim as his preparation. Tom covered the hot & humid course in good form ensuring us a 2nd place finish in the relay division, but more importantly, a narrow margin of victory over Kate.

It was a great way for our family to spend a Sunday morning (at least in my mind :) and I am quite certain my brothers now have a working understanding of what I experience on race day. Kate had a super race finishing 2nd in her age group and 12th overall. Racing for a cause in support of a charity always makes for a rewarding experience. While I am not sure my brothers are inspired to hit up another triathlon anytime soon, I think they did enjoy the day and I am downright proud of them for getting outside their comfort zone.

Pics to follow soon…

Keep it smooth,