This was supposed to go up back in May when it was Kevin's birthday, but better late than never right?! RIIIGHT?!?!
|Philadelphia vs. Buffalo|
Orchard Park, NY
He is an all-around nice guy, graphic designer, occasional Flavor Flav impersonator, professional athlete, and best of all - he's my brother.
Talk about breaking the mold.
He's been able to do this on several levels. It started in high school when he took his first graphic design class and loved it. Then he decided he not only liked graphic design, but he wanted to major in it in college. It took some convincing for my parents to get on board, but he did it and did it well.
Next. Ultimate frisbee (or just plain ultimate). He started the club team while studying at West Chester University and then took it to a whole new level. He was not only a serious player, but began to coach and then played for not one but two teams.
After graduating with his degree he entered a difficult job market (stupid recession), but was able to support himself by working various jobs including: at a Volkswagon dealership, Starbucks, Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), and a couple sporting goods stores.
While he bounced from job to job the one constant thing in his life was ultimate. On any given week he would be doing something ultimate related at least 4-5 days. On weeknights you'd find him at the field practicing or coaching. On the weekends you'd find him at the field playing or coaching. He'd travel far and wide to attend all sorts of tournaments.
With all of this ultimate-ting our parents grew worried he had his priorities mixed up. After all, his bachelor's degree was in graphic design, not playing ultimate. And truth be told he had little time to dedicate to job searches and building his portfolio, but being involved with ultimate made him happy. It was his passion.
Fast forward to February of this year when he tells me about the Philadelphia Spinners which was going to be one of the teams in the first professional ultimate league called the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). He then casually mentions that he was planning to try out for it!
So in 40 degree weather on a February night he and 70 of his closest ultimate companions showed up to day-one of open tryouts. From 70 players they chose 35 for day number two and from 35 they named 23 to the active roster. Kevin was named one of the 23. Check out his profile and some great photos of him being airborne here (not taken by me).
|First pay check from the Spinners!|
I had never been more excited for him than when he told me he had made the team. It was then that I realized he had achieved a life long goal. Not bad achieving a life long goal at 26 years young! It really got me thinking.
It was especially thought provoking given where I am in my career search: still searching. What is it that I am passionate about? What is it that I want? What's the practical decision versus the one that will make me happy?
But the story doesn't stop there. Despite a great start to the season and finding himself on the front page of the Spinners website, Kevin later began to see less playing time towards the end of the season causing a lot of frustration. However, as a spectator you would never know it. He was always the first to high-five his teammates coming off the field and his Facebook and Twitter accounts conveyed nothing but positive statements and excitement. He's what you call a team player.
|National anthem during Philadelphia vs. Buffalo|
Orchard Park, NY
While I know he wanted nothing more than to be out there for every point possible, his disappointment did not keep him from giving any less to the team. He was there for every practice, team commitment, and game.
Kevin and the Spinners went 13-2 this inaugural season obtaining the best record in the league. This past Saturday they traveled to Detroit to play the Championship Game against the Indiana Alley Cats. Once again they came out on top beating them 29-22 which only means one thing. My brother is a champion.
There is a well known quote from Conan O'Brien during his last show as the Late Night host on NBC that I love and feel is applicable to the situation:
"... please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism - it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
Additionally, after years and years of being at jobs he did not care for and being turned down for ones he wanted, he interviewed and was offered a position at Buckman's Ski Shop as their head graphic designer. He tells me their offices look like a ski lodge and they have an office dog named Donny.
So Kevin, if you're reading this this is what I have to say to you:
I have an immense amount of respect for you because day after day, year after year, despite the nagging of family, stress of not having a graphic design related job, as well as the stress of holding a job you did not enjoy, you never gave up on ultimate - the one thing you knew you loved. Choosing ultimate over job searches was never the practical decision, but it was the right decision for you at the time. I believe it is too often we give up the things we enjoy to do what is "right".
Regardless of disappointment from not getting enough time on the field or having the pick up the slack of another employee you kept a positive attitude which is arguably more difficult than any practice drill or lay out you would have to execute.
You have worked hard and mom always says she couldn't have picked a more appropriate Chinese name for you because not only are you kind, but you are gentle. There will be disappointments as there have been in the past, but just continue to work hard because amazing things will continue to happen for you.
I could not be more proud of you and am lucky to have you as my brother to look up to. I love you, buddy! :)
|Third quarter during Philadelphia vs. Buffalo|
Orchard Park, NY