Accidents and Hope
That accident was something I will always regret. Chris and I were meeting for breakfast with some friends. He arrived first, when I pulled up in my car and waited for a parking spot to open up. Chris walked up to the car and we began to chat. We kept talking as I started to back up to park. Suddenly, Chris tripped and then fell from my view. He yelled for me to drive forward. I pulled forward and felt the car roll off his foot. He lay on the ground in immense pain. Jumping out, I came to his side. He winced in pain, grabbed my hand, and said, “Bro, it’s not your fault. I’ll be OK.” The X-ray revealed 50 fractures, and the doctor told him he would never run and would have problems when he walked.
Chris fought his way back and went on to set course records and become one of the best in the world. He picked up amazing sponsors, spoke at charity events, and encouraged others to accomplish their dreams. Chris was often featured on the cover of magazines. My favorite cover was the one that his sponsors asked me to shoot.
It’s difficult to describe how horrible it feels to injure one of your closest friends. Not to mention that I thought I had ruined his career. The accident was clearly my fault, but there was nothing that could be done. Chris never held a grudge and never gave up. He even used his position to give a boost to my photography career. Chris embodies the creative fight ideals.
When I feel defeated or overwhelmed, I look at Chris’s shoe and it restores my hope and drive. That shoe helps me to stop slouching and stand up straight. So does that picture of Mark Wellman and the thought of Tommy Caldwell making his climb. If we allow them to, people who do great things can become like mentors who teach us resolve.