Go For The Gold
Although I’ve loved watching the summer Olympics since I can remember, I was more excited about this one than ever before because one of the competitors is my client and friend. I haven’t had a television for years, so I watched his qualifying event the day before the finals by tuning into the livestream of his watch party. For the finals, my neighbors invited me over to enjoy it together. We kept getting conflicting information on what time the finals would air and I was getting frustrated. Then, just as it was coming up, I saw a notification on Reed Cowan’s (reporter from Las Vegas’ local NBC l affiliate who is in Tokyo) Facebook page and my heart stopped. It said, “Pray for Connor Fields.” What??? Why??? What happened??? A video of the race and horrible crash was shown and we were told Connor was taken off the track on a stretcher in an ambulance. Reed was shaken to the bone, which shook all of us watching.
I met and started working with Connor on his first motivational speech almost five years ago, just months after he won the Olympic Gold Medal in BMX, the first, and to date the only, American to win that coveted prize. Our professional relationship became a friendship immediately. He is such a bright, positive, thoughtful young man who showed me what championship dedication was with every encounter we had. He spoiled me as a coach because he was used to having and respecting coaches. His homework was always done and he embraced practicing, which is very rare in my world. I got to see him enthrall audiences and he was equally received by kids, professionals, and a group of ex-felons looking for a second chance. He connects with his audiences immediately because his intention of leaving them with something that will enhance their lives is pure.
Leading up to these Olympic games we briefly talked about how the results would add to his speeches. Whether he won gold, silver, bronze or below, there would be a new story or two to include that would further motivate his audiences and compel them to go for their gold, as he says. We never thought to talk about this possibility. It never entered my mind. Because he’s so acutely aware of the dangers of his sport, it probably crossed his, but he never mentioned it. While the tension was building as the races were starting the last two days, I heard myself saying over and over, “Please, let him win the gold, please let him win the gold again!” Not once did I think to say, “Let him be safe!” And now, that is my only plea…let him be okay.
Although his family couldn’t travel with him because of the pandemic restrictions, his father shared that Connor is moving his arms and legs and has been responding to questions. We can breathe a little bit. He was knocked unconscious in the horrendous crash. As of this writing, they are still waiting for the results of some tests so we still don’t know the extent of his injuries.
Once again, with incidents like this, we’re reminded of the fragile nature of life. Besides sending loving and healing thoughts to Connor, I also hope that his story inspires you to reach out to a friend or two and tell them you love them. And, for him, do one thing today that moves you closer to your goal—your gold. Connor will continue to inspire us because that is his gift.
President, The Zen Speaker