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there was just no way it was gonna happen 
Mark Silverman 

A genius IQ seemed to be the price to pay for a heartbreaking lack of physical size and coordination. To say my son was not a very good Little League Baseball player would have been kind. Still, ask him what he was going to be when he grew up and the answer never wavered, “a Major League Baseball Player.” The first stop to his ultimate dream, though equally out of reach, was to play on our Elite High School Baseball Team where players move from far and wide to participate in the program. It seemed an impossible goal. 

Though he worked harder than anyone on his Little League and Prep teams, his usual position was left center bench. Between the ridicule and the lack of play he endured, I would have quit a few hundred times. Not this kid. He set his sights on the objective and kept his eye on the ball. If you asked his mom or I if he was going to make the team, the answer would be “We would never bet against this kid,” while internally wincing with that heartbreaking parental pain of knowing. 

Freshman year, still short, rail thin and more determined than ever, my son transformed before our eyes. Every day after school he hit the weight room and the field as though he knew something nobody else could know. As his muscles grew, so did his athleticism and grace. Still, I would look at the other young men on the team, all taller than me and wonder how I was going to love my son through the biggest disappointment of his life come the inevitable February cuts. 

In the parking lot, on a freezing February afternoon I waited. I see kids leaving in tears. I text with my son to find out some news, “Still waiting.” His mom calls me every five minutes; yes we were also caught up in his impossible dream. We hired coaches; we drove to every practice, and turned the garage into a batting cage on the outside chance that maybe, just maybe. Over an hour passes and I sit in my car with love in my heart and fear in my head for my precious little boy. “Jimmy made it, Sam Made it, John left in tears” the texts keep coming... I hate this part of parenting. 

Here he comes. I cannot see his face. I jump out of the car and walk towards him. He just nods. Yes! The impossible transformed to the possible turned into reality. We hug, both in tears from joy, and relief. 

Four Years later, this brilliant talented and determined young man finishes his final year of Varsity Baseball, holding a trophy after his team wins the Virginia State Championship Game. He is unrecognizable as a muscled athlete, hugging his teammates, a beautiful girlfriend on his arm and about to leave for a prestigious university. Yes, anything is possible. 

Another little boy, this one very athletic, charming, and wise beyond his years is struggling in school. My younger son is having a rough time through Third grade. We get him tested, evaluated, judged and labeled. He has several learning disabilities hindering his very obvious intelligence. The “Label” in place, we get the teachers to accommodate his needs; sitting up front, having notes taken for him, a second set of books. Yup, we are good parents, we took care of our kid. 

“No Way! I am not going to do it.” He refused to be accommodated. “It’s embarrassing and I don’t need it, I get what I need to do.” It wasn’t the sort of protest of a kid just being difficult. There was a fierce determination that we could not ignore. We said we would give him a chance as long as he accepted the help of an organizational tutor and some extra focus from us. We gave him rope and let things play out. 

Astonishingly, his grades improved immediately. His demeanor also improved. He was starting to find the confidence he had lost. Fourth grade ended a huge success and Fifth was equally triumphant. With a little extra help, and a will to overcome, he absolutely “handled” it for himself. 

At the start of Sixth grade, we get a call from the school. They want a conference to talk about our son. “Thank you for coming in. We want you to know that this has never happened in the history of our county. Your son has been so successful in overcoming his challenges, we are recommending we drop the Learning Disability Designation.” What? Huh? Is that possible? He had found his creative way in dealing with some very real challenges, showing not only us, but a county panel of experts. 

When it comes to my two sons, I am learning anything is possible. Desire, Determination, Willingness Support, and a big helping of Grit can get us further than our limiting beliefs and trepidation would allow. I have learned more from watching them walk through the gate marked “Impossible” than any new age book or talk. I had overcome much in my life, but to watch my sons blaze a trail all their own inspired and humbled me. I had no idea I was going to need their example to fight for my own life. 

A few years ago, my marriage had ended and my career was on the express elevator to the basement. Alone in an apartment, I found myself faced with a life threatening illness. Through weeks of high fevers, I lost muscle mass, energy, and the ability to concentrate. When I finally started to get better physically, depression set in, and that made each step forward exponentially hard. I had no idea how I was going to recover and find the strength to live, let alone support a family. I wanted to die. 

January came, and somehow I was fortunate enough to land a great new job and hopefully a new start. Though my illness had turned the corner, I still felt terribly weak; my confidence was shot and the depression made any future look bleak at best, I needed to keep stepping forward. I was a dad, my kids were counting on me. 

I was listening to the radio, while waiting for another doctor appointment, when I heard Dr. Oz interviewing some crazy ultra marathon guy. He talked about green drinks, alkalizing, and he believed that everyone could run, everyone. Bad knees, no muscle mass, bad back... I can run? I’ll grab on to the craziest things. 

I got his book, devoured it and started the painful walk/run of 1 mile per day. Then 2. Then 3 miles of slow jogging while filling my head with self help books and audios of every flavor. I made a decision. It was early March and I needed something to live for. I called the author of the book and hired him to coach me on the phone, long distance. “Do you think I could run the Marine Corps Marathon in October?” “No way, but the following October, sure.” That wasn’t going to work for me; I needed to do something big, now. I looked at what “impossible” goals would get me through the year and made them my sole focus. 

• I would run the Marine Corps Marathon in October, Seven months away. 
• I would make $1 Million dollars, just in case my health did not come back and my family needed to be cared for. 
• I would give $60,000 to charity. 

My larger goal was to show my kids what was possible in the face of adversity. They were crazy objectives, unobtainable for sure, but I needed the impossible to break me out of my death spiral and leave a legacy they could point to if they should ever hit rock bottom themselves. 

That October, I ran the Marathon an hour faster than my planned time with my kids and my ex cheering me at the finish line. A Miracle! Although it took me two years to make that Million and give away the Sixty Grand, I reached those crazy goals also. In a year, I went from the lowest point in my life to achieving endeavors I never thought possible. 

Today, I spend my day opening client’s minds to the impossible. I learned from my kids so I could experience miracles for myself. I learned for myself so I have first hand knowledge to pass on to everyone I meet. 

What have I learned? That the biggest barrier between us and making the Impossible - Possible, is us. An unshakable “Why”, a Goal worth achieving, or people we love counting on us, is rocket fuel to leave known lands for places that look out of reach. We may not reach the exact target we were aiming for, but I can promise, we will land further than we ever thought we could. Just ask the three Silverman Boys, we’ll tell you, Go For It! 

 


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Great story, amazing kids, and you are even more inspiring than I already thought.

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12/30/2015 10:39am

Thank you, Mary. Love sent to the great white north.

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