When we are exposed to greatness, it has the potential to awaken our own. I think that’s why pilgrims in the Middle Ages collected relics and religious artifacts. They were in search of something that would inspire their own faith, hope, and strength. While I can’t relate to wanting a saint’s tooth, I do understand their search. Just like what I was searching for when I asked my friend Chris for his shoes. Chris is a world-class triathlete and Ironman champion and is of my closest friends. He trains like a mad man and goes through shoes faster than I finish a pack of gum. One day we were hanging out in his garage and he was cleaning up. Chris was about to throw away a stinky old pair of shoes when I asked if I could have them to hang on my wall. He looked at me like I was a crazy, but he obliged and even signed the soles. Every time I see those shoes I’m reminded of his tenacity and grit.
When he was younger, Chris wasn’t much of an athlete but got inspired to do a triathlon after seeing the event on television. After a number of years of insanely difficult work, Chris became a pro—it was a dream come true. Just as his career was starting to take off, his dreams were shattered when some doofus ran over his foot. That culprit was not a stranger but a close personal friend. It was me.