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This blog was inspired by the 1993 song Jesse by Joshua Kadison in which he sings how Jesse’s dreams are never free. Listening to this song got my thinking of how costly my own goals in life have been, and yet how rewarding those goals have been upon completion. By “dreams” I’m referring to distant goals in one’s life, not the mental images produced during R. E. M. sleep.

My website quotes motivational speaker Napoleon Hill as writing: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I first read that quote in college, but. I’ve always believe I can achieve any goal I desire through belief, hard work, and perseverance.

My first goal in life was envisioned during Thanksgiving, 1965 or so. We were watching the Detroit Lions play someone during the tradition Thanksgiving football game when my drunk mother kept droning on about how she thought Lion’s defensive tackle Alex Karras was so big and strong. Every boy wants to impress his parents. My first goal in life was to play football.

My father was an abusive drunk who believed in school before sports. He never allowed me to play football until high school, and that was only if I maintained excellent grades.

Despite two broken ankles in high school, I received offers to play for California Lutheran University CLU (a Division III school) and Southern Methodist University SMU. Unfortunately, by this time my goals had changed. I wanted a good job after college which required a better education than the one I’d receive at CLU or SMU. I was accepted by Purdue University and had talked to them about “walking-on” to play football.

I knew it would be next to impossible to play for a Big Ten team. I didn’t realize how difficult until that first practice when I was the 13th offensive back for two positions. I didn’t see any game time that first year. I stuck with it only to have my shoulder surgically repaired my sophomore year. They still took me to the Blue Bonnet Bowl at the Astro Dome in Houston. I stuck with it my junior year, and was eventually promoted to second team, the “traveling team”. I was finally on the field, if only in the second line of blockers for the kick-off receiving team. I was also a starter for every JV game at schools like Wisconsin, and Ohio State. I traveled to every Big Ten Stadium except IU’s and Northwester’s which were home games.. Iowa was a home game in 1980 as well. We were beating them so bad, they put me in with the second team. I only ran it twice for nine yards, but both runs were against Andre Tipett who eventually become a Hall of fame linebacker with the Patriots. Later that season we went on to pummel Missouri in the Liberty Bowl. I was there, and even managed a “Hi, Mom’ TV appearance.

I graduated in the standard four years from Purdue with, a BS in Economies and a minor in English, all while involved with football two-to-four hours a day, seven days a week. JV games were played on Sundays after a day traveling by bus. Friday nights were spent in a hotel traveling. Best of all, I’d met my future wife. I was satisfied that I’d accomplished my “football” goal. I had no desire or illusions about playing football again. The cost of this dream was too great when measured in injuries and hours of hard work. I’d had the experience of carrying the ball and having my name called over the loudspeakers before 68,000 home fans, and playing before 100,000 screaming University of Michigan fans. I went to two bowl games. I can live with that. My wall carries my tam pictures with my Purdue “Player of the Week” plaque. I have two Bowl game rings, and a host of great friends. My last involvement with football was most satisfying. I coached two pee-wee teams to winning seasons, and saw a few of my players obtain scholarships following high school.
I married my college sweetheart. We’ll celebrate our 38th anniversary this month. Our son is doing well, and working as a copywriter after his college graduation. This satisfies another goal of being happily married, and raising a family which also included four Alaskan Malamutes who lived into their teens, and a Siberian husky who is going strong after two TPLO knee surgeries. The family goal has been the least costly, mostly pain free, but generally the most rewarding
Accomplishing goals leads to establishing others. While working twenty years at Household Bank I decided to write and publish a book. I don’t need to tell anyone the difficulty and pain of publishing. I’ve published ten books with three publishers to date. My first Si Fi, Soul Cage made it to 9th on the Amazon sales ranking in the summer of 216. I have higher aspirations for TEAM, my first historical fiction.

My latest goal involves giving back. I suffered a stroke in 2014 which paralyzed my left arm and leg. During recovery, I’ve met a lot of great people and therapists. Many of them have goals as well. I’m working with some therapists, and a nurse practitioner to form a group of writers to assist patients and doctors with writing ambitions.

Achieving my dreams has never been free, but living without the fear of failure has given me a rewarding life with no regrets.

The other alternative is to stay asleep ,and live in your dreams. Ya still have to get up to pee.