During my six years studying at Boston College, my teachers and advisors emphasized being “men and women for others.” This was the message—though it would be tailored to fit each particular course or subject matter. The saying traces its roots to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, leader of the Society of Jesus for nearly 20 years. In the quote below, Fr. Arrupe declared that the measure of a good Jesuit education is the extent to which the students take action on the principles they’ve learned:
Today our prime educational objective must be to form men [and women] for others; men [and women] who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ – for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men [and women] who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men [and women] completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.”
For Fr. Arrupe, education was not measured in essays or on scan-tron sheets (completed with a #2 pencil, of course). One passed or failed depending on his/her “real world” application of the principles. Each of us possesses something—a gift, a passion, or a talent—that makes the world a better place when it is shared.
In this spirit, I am going to use my visibility and influence as a professional triathlete (whatever influence that might be…) to be a better “man for others.” And, as all meaningful resolutions begin, I am taking action. This Saturday, February 9th, my friends and supporters from Team Philly Pro Tri will be riding their bikes on stationary trainers for 16.5 hours to raise money for the Blazeman Foundation. This is exactly the type of service I learned about during my time at Boston College, and it is exactly the type of thing I believe in putting my energy behind.
The Blazeman Foundation honors former teacher and triathlete Jon Blais. Nicknamed “The Blazeman,” Blais was diagnosed with ALS when he was only 33 years old. Six months later, he defied the debilitating disease by completing the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. In a seemingly helpless situation, Blais took action. Even though the ALS was already beginning to steal his ability to control his muscles, Blais finished a 2.4mi swim, 112mi bike, and 26.2mi run in 16.5 hours (hence the 16.5 hours of bike riding at the Spin-a-Thon this weekend). Every stroke, pedal, and step that day was made in defiance of ALS.
I’m writing this post to ask for your financial support of Team Philly Pro Tri and The Blazeman Foundation. Our goal is to raise $15,000 (with all money going directly to the Blazeman Foundation) before the start of the Spin-a-Thon this Saturday morning. It doesn’t have to be much—I could only afford $10.00. Every little bit counts. You can both read more about the Spin-a-Thon and make your donation at majorcares.com.
I’ll post a new blog each night this week to highlight the importance of taking action. Never underestimate one’s ability to make a difference.
Thanks so much for any support you decide to offer.