Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nick Schuyler: Not Without Hope

Slammin Sam on Sports Media
“We almost sold out of that yesterday,” said one Barnes and Noble employee. That sure caught my attention. Let me tell you why “Not Without Hope” is flying off the shelves and sits No. 1 in its category.

1. We’ve all been there.
Few of us will ever experience a fight for survival like Nick Schuyler. We won’t come within an hour or less of death while we struggle to hang on. I’m not suggesting I know what Nick went through or anything like that, but I do think at least once in life, we all find ourselves thrashed about by life’s waves when we would give anything for dry land. Like Nick, if only we could have a do-over.

Nick Schuyler didn’t even like fishing. The thought of sea fare repulsed him. “I don’t know,” Schuyler said at the idea. But he could not resist a fishing trip and the surefire good times he found in the company of his new friends, Corey Smith and Marquis Cooper. “Any time I got to spend with those guys was fun,” Schuyler said.

No matter that he had only known the two workout buddies for a few months. In the pair of NFL up-and-comers, Schuyler, the fitness trainer, found the buddies he’d lacked his whole life.

The trio knew a storm was brewing, but with NFL workouts nearing, the friends did not want to forfeit a last chance (Not, 14). Schuyler hoped that his best friend could join them as well. It turned out a spot opened up, and Will Bleakley couldn’t wait to jump on board, texting his friend throughout the previous day.

It’s funny what you think of first when the waters begin to swirl. Nick Schuyler recalled his sister Kristen’s goodbye as he and Will left the house on the morning of the expedition. “Have fun, see you later. Love you,” she said. All those things we take for granted as if we have an unlimited supply. Nick recalled his sister’s bargain that if she did well in her 5K race that day, her brother would join her in the next one (25).

2. We read tragic stories every day about what people would have done or said differently in hindsight.
This brings the question to light again: What should you act on today in case you or someone else doesn’t get another tomorrow? “Once, when it was quiet, knowing how desperate our situation was, I said, ‘I love you guys.’ I just wanted to let them know how I felt… In the middle of the Gulf, with our boat overturned and the four of us getting tossed about by waves in a storm, our priorities seemed to straighten. Little crap didn’t matter.” (53)

3. “In the hour of adversity, be not without hope.”
After more than 40 hours at sea, rescue crews found Schuyler alone. Who knows why Schuyler survived and his three friends did not, but he will always remember them with a Celtic cross bearing each man’s initials along with a Persian proverb. “In the hour of adversity, be not without hope.” That says it all. “There was no giving up, no quitting. We worked together. Never once did we say, ‘We’re done,” Schuyler recalls about the group’s commitment (225).

May each of us be so fortunate to form friendships like this band of brothers.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

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