If you read my last email , then you know I am in the middle of some great events these next few weeks. Well here is story #1 from my most recent trip to Syracuse for the Sgt. Chris Simpson Charity event at which I appeared .
I've been very blessed in my life over the years and had some really cool experiences... I've gone to see our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on several occasions... I've spoke to kids about the importance of reading and they actually listened... and many times I‘ve had 20,000 people chanting DDP while I was in the ring at a deafening level... but this weekend I was able to touch lives at another level... I t all started in Atlanta... I was heading to the airport to go to see the mother (Kate) and fiancé (Carol) of one of our fallen Soldiers... A true American Hero , Sgt Christopher Simpson... Kate and Carol asked me if I would come and speak at the first Sgt Chris Simpson Fundraiser... Obviously I told them it would be an honor... Here is that story.
I took a cab on Friday at rush hour in Atlanta to the airport to head towards Syracuse. Leaving two hours ahead of time... I figured I'd given myself plenty of time to get to the airport and check in. To be fair to myself , my email was down this week so I couldn't confirm my flight reservations... A t that moment I remembered that I've had it on my phone! So I looked it up on my iPhone , and t hat's when I realized that the flight wasn't leaving at 6:30, it was leaving at 6:04. It was about that time that the 285 Freeway in Atlanta had become a parking lot. BTW you can't check bags after 45 minutes before a flight. So my driver starts driving like a mad man to get me there while I'm on the phone talking to the woman at Delta, trying to get a backup flight…which of course is sold out!
Did I tell you that Chris's Mom Kate had a huge meet and greet for me that night, but the odds of me making that flight where a slim to none ? We got to the airport 27 minutes before my flight got ready to take off. Have you ever been to the Atlanta airport? My chances now of making this flight are a thousand to one! Thank God the sky cab was a fan, he ran me into where the security section was at a full speed run. There was about 150 people in line ahead of me. The sky cab walked me up front but won't let me in line because it's against the rules to cut in front of people. Realizing that he's not going to let me go in yet, I yell out , "Hey everyone, I'm Diamond Dallas Page, and I'm on my way to see the mother and fiancé of one of our fallen soldiers. Does anyone have a problem with me cutting in line I have a less than 20 minutes to catch this flight?" Magically everyone backed up a couple of feet. Even the people who where putting their stuff on a conveyer belt let me go first. I threw all my stuff on the conveyer belt and luckily the person checking my bag was a wrestling fan.. They loved the belt! I crammed everything one on top of the other and started running to the escalator. If any of you know Atlanta airport, you know that gate 36C is a looooong way away! Throughout the trip so far, it was doing some serious deep breathing.. trying to remain calm and believe that I was going to make it. I've got 12 or 13 minutes at this point. I get off the Tram and I think I'm the first cart, no... I'm the furthest from the escalator. So, I start sprinting through the escalator yelling to the people, " P lease let me go first!" What I forgot to tell you is that I'm carrying my suit jacket and tie, and it's hooked to the back of my collar and it's waving behind me like a damn cape. If you've been to Atlanta you know it's a really tall escalator. I took 2 to 3 stairs at a time... I finally get to the top and sprint towards gate 36. As I get to 30 I hear "LAST CALL.. GATE 36"
So I sprint faster. It felt like it was a mile away! I finally got there, and the door is closed! Now as any of you know, when the door is closed.. it's closed, they don't reopen the door. I start to go , "Noooooooo I can't believe this!" As I'm about to start pounding on the door, it opens and the guy behind it says " You' re just making it!" and I say "No kidding!"
By the time I get to the plane the stewardess looks at me and say s, " You look like you could use some water" . I say , " How about a bottle?". I took my bottle and sat down... as I realized that I wasn't going to ruin the night... I thought.. Thank God!
When I got to Syracuse I was greeted by Kate and Carol. I had a very emotional greeting from both of them. From there we headed to the family get together. I was greeted by maybe one of the warmest families ever! I was immediately transformed into Mickey Mouse with tattoos,
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taking pictures and saying hi, making everyone feeling comfortable. All the pictures are on the site. Later that night Carol, Kate and I went to dinner to have some private time.. A e talked about Chris and the fund raiser that we where doing the next day. I asked them if they've seen "It's a Wonderful Life" . T o my surprise, neither of them where familiar with the movie, so I told them that they needed to watch it this Christmas because I felt that I was at George Bailey's house. I remember the first time I talked to Carol was on her birthday… here is a recap from her Dad.
|From: Michael Fries
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:07 PM
Subject: Carol's Birthday Call
I just wanted to thank you for the call that you made to my daughter Carol on her birthday a couple of days ago. She, as you probably know, was at the homecoming for Chris Simpson’s unit in Colorado when you called. It was an intensely emotional few days for her and the thoughtfulness and caring of your call really brightened the moment.
As you have said, most of getting somewhere in life is not about what life deals you but how you respond to it. Six months after Chris was killed Carol started medical school. This is a daunting task for anyone but to do it in a state of grief and emotional exhaustion is almost unthinkable. She has worked so hard while feeling such despair and has performed with excellence. It would be so easy for her to give up but she won’t. I think you can identify with that kind of struggle.
Sometimes we don’t know how meaningful small things can be. I wanted to tell you that your call was meaningful for my daughter and for me and I am grateful.
Yours, Mike Fries
One thing that came out of the many interesting things that came from dinner was the perspective of the fiancé in a situation like this. Kate and Carol want to lobby for the fiancés of fallen soldiers to also be acknowledged. I totally agree.
The next day the event started at noon and I got there at 1:30 to speak at 2:00. The place was packed with about 500 people. My buddy Dennis Dipaolo asked Jim Kelly to send a few autographed items. There was a bunch of sports memorabilia and electronics that were donated by the community that brought nice money at that silent auction.
It amazed me how this little town outside of Syracuse came together for their fallen hero. This was America at its best. People drove from hours away for the event that the family had not seen in years. I wish I had taped my inspirational speech because it was one of the best ones I had ever done. It was in a firehouse building . I had a couple hundred people sitting down, a couple hundred people standing and a 100 people at the bar that I had to talk over. This was a great test for me and it was by far the best inspirational talk to date ending with a standing ovation. Scott and Kate, Chris’s parents and Carol, gave me a plaque to show their appreciation.
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Afterwards I signed autographs, DVD, books and Action Figures that I had donated to the event. Out of all the things I have ever done in my life this was the most gratifying of them all.
I have two new t-shirts at the store . One is in honor to Chris Simpson and any that are sold from my site will have the total profit go to the Christopher Simpson Fund
I got to the school and found out that Jennifer Muir of the OC Register was going to do a feature article on DDP and YRG. Not only was she going to check it out, she actually wanted to do the YRG workout which I love.
We started in the gym for my inspirational speech. Usually it is a 60 minute speech but I cut it down to 25 minutes and it had a phenomenal impact on everyone. Angie and Alan, my team YRG people, were there and they said during the speech there were kids with their mouths dropping at the stuff they were hearing and seeing.
After the speech we headed down to the baseball field for the workout. I thought some kids would peel off and ditch the workout but to my surprise more kids saw us and actually piled on and joined the workout. This was a great group with a ton of energy. I took them through a high level workout and as challenging as I made it, they kept asking for more… A t the end they were feeling good and as they marched back up to the school they were chanting “DDP” and flashing Diamond Cutter signs to each other.
This was the most fun I have had doing the YRG Workout since I was in Iraq doing it with the troops. That is one of the great things about the YRG Workout. We had top High School athletes doing YRG right next to their teachers. You can modify YRG at an easier level or you can challenge yourself as much as you want.
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One of the real cool things is that I know YRG and DDP left an impact on the school. Not only am I getting emails from parents, faculty and students but I hear that the Volleyball team is now flashing Diamond Cutters after a kill shot and they are still chanting DDP in the halls of Laguna Beach High School.
YRG Warriors Newsflash!:
The Laguna Beach Boys Volleyball team just upset #3 ranked San Clemente and the match was televised as the High School game of the week. Also the Laguna Beach Baseball team is now undefeated in league and the top 5 batting averages in their league is all Laguna Beach Baseball players. Great Job Guys!
YRG Warriors Newsflash! #2:
Check out this link. The top 5 hitters in league are all from one High School…Laguna Beach!
Don’t forget on April 3rd I will be in Houston, TX at Booker T’s “Legends of Wrestling Fanfest”, which raises money for his charity Fight for Kids Foundation. Joining me there will be Sting, Kevin Nash, Samoa Joe, Jake the Snake Roberts and a lot of others. It‘s at that George Brown Convention Center in Houston, I will forward more info as I get it.
Also, just so everyone knows the launch of the New YRG Fitness program has been pushed back two weeks to the 17th + 18th.
Get Healthy... Stay Strong... Be Unstoppable and Do your YRG or else!
Live Life at 90%
Live Life at 90%