The “Underdog Story
” winners are in. Over 30 stories were submitted. The top three stories are featured below
. They each received Cash and a signed book . You can view all the finalist stories at http://MyUnderdogStory.com
The Number 1 story “Overcoming Deafness
” will be featured in one of my up and coming books.
The top Three stories are :
” Through Life Don’t Give Up”
“Sequence of Challenges.”
Read Their Inspiring Stories Below:
I’ve often said that becoming deaf was the very best thing that happened to me. You see, I grew up hard of hearing, always trying to fit in with my peers who had normal hearing. One beautiful summer day, I was waterskiing on my bare feet and practicing wake crossings. My foot caught on the wake and I slammed into the water, head over heels. When I climbed into the boat, I could no longer hear.
I had gone profoundly deaf at that point but it wasn’t until weeks later that it sunk in.
I transferred to Northern Illinois University just weeks later, and that was a fateful move. After six months of struggling in classes, straining to lipread my professors, I decided I had enough. It was time for me to learn American Sign Language. I requested an interpreter for all of my classes and immersed myself in learning the language of hands. If I was going to be deaf the rest of my life, I might as well become the best deaf person I could be.
Today, I’m now a Sales Manager and National VCO Manager for Zvrs.com, a company that sells videophones for deaf and hard of hearing consumers. I write for Chicago Moms Blog and have two blogs of my own. And 25 years after becoming deaf from barefooting, I went to the World Barefoot Center (www.worldbarefootcenter.com) and went barefooting again.
When I climbed back into the boat after my last run, they jokingly asked, “Can you hear now?”
Nah, it’s still good to be deaf.
#2 -“THROUGH LIFE DON”T GIVE UP.”
In my early teens, I was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever. There was to be no sports and no hard work. There were moments when I could not move my body.
I lived on a farm so I had to work. I worked and got strong. I had to be physical, that allowed me basketball, football, and baseball. I played point guard in basketball, tight end in football, and third base in baseball.
During summer after my junior year, a drunk driver almost ended my life and did end my high school basketball career
. While in physical therapy at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee; I asked for a basketball. When I touched it, I passed out overwhelmed with a future that would not be. I had been in Nashville just the week before to secure a collage scholarship to play basketball for David Lipscomb College.
My senior year was very different than I had planned. I did manage to learn to walk again and then to run. I would play no more basketball until my first year in college.
I was point guard again for my dorm, Weldon Hall, in the intramural league. Pre-season, our dorm was the laughing stock of the campus. We were pretty nerdy for college freshman but they did not know what I knew. I was ready to play again.
I organized our team and we set out with one goal to win the league. No one gave us a chance. Then they had to play us and one by one we sent them all back to their respective dorms with their heads between their legs.
As a team of Davids, there was one Goliath in our path. His name was Jim Koontz. He had been an all star player from another school he had been asked not to return to and he was not allowed to play ball for our college team because of past behavior.
Jim Koontz was not just good. He was a super star. I told my team that I would handle him. I would out play and outscore him.
On game day, the gymnasium was packed as if the college team was playing a rival. This felt like the game I never got to play in high school. It was redemption time.
I have really already proved to myself that I can play again. I have the respect of my team and we are winning and people on campus have a different view of Weldon Hall.
From the tip, the game was hard and fast. We didn’t just stay up with Koontz’s team; we were never behind in the game. It was close and he gave me fits but I was determined that today he was shooting no 30 footers and getting nothing easy.
OK, so I had a busted lip and burns on my knees and elbows from sliding on the floor and Jim Koontz did not. When the final buzzer blew, I had something Jim Koontz did not have. My team and I had an undefeated season
. Jim Koontz did not.
What I had learned is that neither Rheumatic Fever nor near fatal car accident that had me hospitalized for the summer of 1968 kept me down
. I went on to serve my country in The United States Air Force during the Vietnam Era, earned Bachelor and Master Degrees, married, had children, grand children, and great grand children. Don’t ever give up
#3-” SEQUENCES OF CHALLENGES. ”
2007 started as any other year. I was sucessful as a sales rep for a fitness company I had some money in the bank and sales were going pretty good
. Then one day in Februray, I was traveling on the freeway and someone in front of me blew a tire, slammed into me and then we smashed into a concrete barrier. I wasnt seriously hurt but my car was a mess. So I took a couple weeks to heal from my injuries and to get another car. This wiped out the money I had in reserve and I had nothing extra.
I wanted to be close to home and not travel so much after the accident so I took a job with a home improvement company. I had several years of experience in the industry and I hit the ground running. The first couple months I was on fire. I was selling at 60% which was awesome for the industry. Unfortunately the banks were starting to tighten up on loans so several of my sales werent going through
. But I stayed the course and kept plugging away. Time went by fast and it was June and things were tightning up even more.
I was making sales but I wasnt getting paid on them very fast
. So I started asking around town and found out the company I was working for was mismanaged very poorly. So I went to the owners the week of July 4th and confronted them because they owed me nearly 5,000 in commissions. They told me to wait in the sales room and then they snuck out the side office door
. I was leasing a car and I was behind on the payments and I lived with a friend who was very patient with my struggles. I went in to the office the next day and it was all dark and empty. I went home to tell my friend the news and he said he had awful news for me. His mother was dying of cancer and she had not told him for months and now she only had 2-3 months to live and that he was moving out in 3 days.
The rent was way too much for me to handle on my own and I had no money to pay for a deposit and a months rent as well. Then to make matters worse I had promised the lease company a payment on that Friday. So Friday came and I called the lease company and they came to get my car. I was jobless , carless and in 2 days homeless. I spent those days packing and franticly looking for some way to save myself from the hell I was about to endure.
My good friend Larry dropped me off at a cheap motel when it was time to leave my friends place. I managed to land a sales job in a truck stop about a mile away. So everyday for months I walked each way trying to make just enough money to have a roof over my head and some food to eat.
Slowly but surely I was getting by and then I met the most wonderful woman and she was going through similar tough times
. Together we grew very close and helped each other emotionally and we struggled for several months. But I kept plugging away to make sure that a situation like that wouldnt happem again.
Its now a couple years later and now I have a couple cars that are paid for, I have a nice place with nice things and a few little extras. I literally think of those hard months everyday and see them as a motivation to always work hard and never stop wanting and living for the moment. My bills get paid and I can afford to have things like internet and cable tv. I have a great job selling a great product that saves lives.
I speak in front of groups of people every week educating them on fire safety. I suffered a long hard road for months often wondering why this was happening to me.
Now I know it was to prepare me for other challenges in life and also to maybe help me in my job. You see I know what its like to lose almost everything you own and love.
Thats the same thing that happens to alot of people in a fire. God has a plan for you and theres a reason as to why things happen.
The main thing to remember is that its how you react to what happens that will make a difference in your life. Do you view the situation as a challenge or a set back ?? Thank you for reading my story its probably not the worst thing out there but at the time it was a living hell for me. Im so glad I stayed the course.