Making Time Count
Hey, how are ya?!
Making Time Count – that is the theme of the entire website. Welcome To My Website! This is my first blog post, and I’m excited to share my story with you. Admittedly, I am also a bit nervous because I’m still figuring out my story as I go along.
You may be saying to yourself, “yay, yet another blog post that someone wants me to read, sweet.” I mean, how obnoxious of me to blast your inbox and computer screen with content about ME!! Well, many of you are friends or family, so you have to care. For those who do not know, I have a big personality. Get ready for a lot of me. Hopefully, you enjoy my content enough to tell your friends about this TOOL from Massachusetts who is yet another believer that Tom Brady is the second coming of Christ, who has something to say, who offers a new perspective, and who has nothing else to do but tell you to keep breathing, keep doing, keep believing, keep Making Time Count.
Which brings me to why I have so much time on my hands – so much time that I write and write and shove my messages down the throats of “workin’ people.” That’s what I call my buddies who are making the most of their degrees by starting careers or continuing their education after college: workin’ people. I, on the other hand, have decided against the cubicle life. But it’s not because I’m evolved somehow or think I am somehow better than those making a livelihood working a 9-5. It’s simply because I know that I have a metaphorical hourglass sitting on my nightstand, reminding me that I have roughly 10 years left of quality living. Ironically, we all have this hourglass, yet most people don’t really think about it this early in life. I am only twenty-three, and I know it is there. I want you to as well, but I am Making Time Count.
It wasn’t until my fraternity buddy, who was grinding at work but wished he was doing something else, said to me, “I am so jealous of you.” I looked at him, my able-bodied counterpart, and said, “You are jealous of Me? Come again for Big Fudge?” I began to see why he was less hopeful than I was. I also realized that so many kids my age feel stuck – even more stuck than I am in a motorized scooter. Somehow, I got the sense that maybe I could move faster than many people despite my terminal illness. But this isn’t about faster; it’s about higher. And that’s what I want to talk about you all about.
As you have probably seen from my homepage, I am currently in a motorized scooter because I can no longer walk independently. This was not always the case. I used to be an athletic kid who played organized football, baseball, basketball, and lacrosse. I also played every backyard sport possible with my childhood friends, who are still my best friends today. Welcome To My Website full of stories!
One of the best sports-related memories I have is from third grade. Back then, I played football for Leominster Pop Warner, my city’s local team. In a game against Worcester, one of our rivals, Coach started me at defensive end. Earlier in the season, I had noticed during practices that other defensive players were trying to tackle the ball carrier. That’s all good, no doubt. But I figured why tackle the ball carrier from the other team when you could also take the ball from him? On the field, I worked on Making Time Count!
I know I am making it sound like this was an unbelievable, never-heard-of strategy that a coach like Bill Belichick could only formulate. Not at all. I’ll be honest. That’s not the case. I am not the brightest bulb, and I just figured it was a simple concept that made sense: Take the ball. Give it back to our offense. Simple.
So during the entire year and beginning that game, I would also try to strip the ball away when I would tackle the ball carrier. I got pretty good at doing that, and my coaches loved it. Whenever we were on defense, they put me in went into the game. During that game against Worcester, we weren’t as talented and were projected to lose by a lot. However, I finished with many tackles and 4 four forced fumbles because I just went and ripped the ball. My twin brother Sean – who you will hear more about in upcoming blog posts – played running back. My job was to strip the ball and play defense so that Sean could play offense. Sean scored three touchdowns that game, which ended in a tie, which was annoying. Nobody wants a tie.
That’s just one memory I have of growing up playing sports, being physically active, and sharing experiences with my brother and close friends. However, everything changed quickly over the next few years.
Sports, which my siblings and friends bonded through, became more difficult for me when I was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia (“FA”). Later I learned that FA would progressively diminish the muscles in my body and gradually destroy my coordination and strength.
Eventually, I had to stop playing sports. Trust me; this was not by choice. Here’s a summary. The timeline went like this:
- Age 13: Motor skills diminished to the point I could hardly swing a bat, throw a baseball, or handle a lacrosse stick. I stopped playing sports.
- Age 15: Lost ability to run with coordination.
- Age 18: Gradually lost the ability to walk on my own
- Age 35. Heart failure. (That sounds pretty gloomy, but I have plenty of time before that day, so you’ll be seeing a lot of me!!!)
I have been through many life-changing moments that I want to share with you. These moments have shaped my outlook on life, which is very simple: be happy and enjoy your time on earth.
My hope – with my website and through these future blogs – is to share stories with you that help you understand my outlook on life and for you, and how I am Making Time Count! I hope this may help you determine your own to change yours for the better. I am slowly dying and can no longer walk independently. But in many ways, I am more alive than most people I meet every day. I really hope I can help you to find your happiness. However, metaphorically I am now living and running.
Life is like football: why only go for the tackle when you can also go for the ball.
Making Time Count!
One Love, Joey