Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Back in 1985, I was visited by a former high school and collegiate wrestler, who had allowed his 5 foot, 8 inch frame to collect over 200 pounds since his college years. He had embarked on a running program in order to lose weight and return to some level of fitness, and sought my advice for designing a training program.

Rob Crosswell, a member of the 'Cast of Characters,', went on to pare his weight down to 165 pounds, and to run a personal best marathon time of 2:49, at Boston. Rob is one of my oldest and dearest friends. He was the best man in my wedding. A knee that has been reduced to bone on bone, thanks to cartilage erosion, has reduced him to rollerblading in order to stay fit, but few individuals in their sixties possess the dogged determination and focus as Rob.

Rob's son, Ryan, was an outstanding high school cross country and track runner. He began his running career as a senior, and has become an incredible "late bloomer." He competed on the Vanderbilt University cross country team, and then went on to Duke Law School.

As my experience has proven over the years, most runners are outstanding individuals, and Ryan Crosswell is about as outstanding as they get.

Months before graduating from Duke Law School, as offers from prestigious law firms from around the country rolled in, Ryan called his dad with an announcement: He had decided to join the United States Marine Corps. When I asked him why, he humbly stated, "I want to serve." Boot camp, and months of training followed, and Crosswell earned the rank of Lieutenant, and served honorably for four years, rising in rank to Captain. Over two years ago, when my own son, Logan, decided to join the Corps, Ryan was there to offer advice and guidance. Logan has recently has earned the rank of Corporal.

Today, Ryan Crosswell is a successful attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he has eclipsed his father's marathon time, by smashing the 2:45 barrier.

This morning, prior to a nasty snow and ice storm, Ryan and I ran a brisk 7-miler. We solved most of the world's problems, and had plenty of laughs.

Ryan Crosswell is a young man of honor, and exemplifies all of what is good about young folks in America.

Our thanks go out to people like Ryan and all those who have served and continue to serve, including my son.

We are 'The land of the free' thanks to our brave men and women in uniform.