12,000 feet closer to God

Day 1: May 18, 2012
I woke up at 3:30AM to catch a 6:15AM flight with Dj Huyck to Denver, CO.  I have flown into Denver several times but I’m excited about this trip because we are going deep into the mountains.  From the Denver city airport, you can see the snow on the mountain tops and for me that is really weird considering that it is 80 degrees where I stand.

Dj is a good friend of mine that was born in Denver and now lives in Marietta and serves on the LEADership Council of my non-profit organization L.E.A.D.  His mother, Lois Huyck currently lives in a small town called Buena Vista in the mountains of Colorado.  Her and and here husband Charlie built their retirement home there many years ago.  About a year ago, Dj’s father, Charlie died and we are here to organize a baseball clinic in his honor for youth in the town.

Charlie was a successful entrepreneur, an avid baseball fan and most of all a caring husband and father. What a blessing it is for me to be here to serve in this capacity.  Before his death, he dove into this community and supported baseball and youth.  This week, we are going to Honor The Game in his name.

I’m really excited about tomorrow.  We drove by the clinic field site which is the home field for the BV varsity baseball team.  What a view of the mountains from home plate!  I’m laughing right now because as I look beyond the right field fence, I see a couple deer in the back yard of a house.  I’m definitely in the mountains.

This is a small town but everyone is so nice.  The grade school enrollment is 250 students with a total population of less than 3,000 in the entire town.  That’s alright because I’m either going to find or produce some baseball studs from this town.

Day 2: May 19, 2012
It’s showtime!  The RSVP list shows 15 clinic participants but we are prepared for whoever shows up.  We have several baseball players from nearby Western State College which is led by Charlie Huyck’s grandson Dylan.

The cars are pulling in and out comes a young man and young lady that look ready for some baseball. The father is an Atlanta Braves fan born in California.  He grew up watching the Braves on TBS.  His son is athletically built with a firm hand shake and introduced himself to me as Denver.  Really?  Like the city Denver I asked. Your first name is really Denver?  Yes sir he replied and yoou will never believe what his sisters first name is.  The cute little girl said, “hello my name is Atlanta.”  That is awesome!  If Kelli and I have another girl, her name will be Atlanta.

The clinic is starting and we have 24% (60 kids) of Buena Vista’s grade school students here at the clinic.  This is amazing.  Baseball really matters in this town and Charlie Huyck helped make it so.

Dj Huyck has the master schedule and players are rotating from base running, hitting, pitching and fielding stations.  I have the honor of developing the hitters at the clinic.  We had a lot of fun in the hitting stations.  I basically broke the swing down into parts for the kids so that they could understand it and left them with drills that they could do on their own.

There were several talented hitters that caught my eye but my buddy Denver stood out the most.  He is going to be a stud.

After the clinic, we drove 2.5 hours into Denver to have dinner and I got a chance to hang out with Colorado Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler.  I remember working with Dexter when he was 12 years old and now people are walking around the city with his jersey on.

Driving into Denver was exciting to say the least.  As we climbed the mountains in our Tahoe we reached over 10,000 feet and drove through some snow.  This was crazy considering we were just sweating at the clinic.

I’m full from the bacon cheeseburger and I feel asleep all the way back to BV.

Day 3: May 20, 2012
I slept in from a long day yesterday.  Today was so much fun because I went mountain biking followed by another trip to K’s Dairy Delite then we went to the top of the Cottonwood Pass on the Continental Divide.

One of the toughest things that I have ever done in my life is ride a mountain bike up and down hills for 5 miles.  None of my friends will ever believe that I did it but I did.  As I was riding on one strip, a deer crossed 10 feet in front of me.  That is crazy!

I gained a better sense of perseverance as I climbed the mountain.  There were times when I had to climb a steep hill and wouldn’t give up and there were other times when I needed to take a break and walk.  Dj was by my side most of the ride on the ATV and was great encouragement.  That was a real lesson to depend on others.  I couldn’t have done it without his help.  I was also able to accomplish my goal to complete the 5 mile hike because I had a great bike from the Trailhead Bike Shop.  It is vital to have the best equipment when you are trying to accomplish greatness.

So I burned a lot of calories on the bike and I had to enjoy a double bacon cheeseburger, fries and two peanut butter milkshakes at K’s Dairy Delite.  This food is so good and a landmark in Buena Vista.  It is a family owned business of the Huyck’s and a place where Charlie spent a lot of his time.  The atmosphere reminds me a lot of Chick-fil-A because it has that family feel and lots of tradition.

I’m more than full and now it is time to hike to the top of the Cottonwood Pass but this time we are doing it in the Tahoe.  We drove up switch backs and did a few hairpin turns.  It was amazing to see.  We finally reached 12,126 feet and the view proves that there is a God.  I’ve seen views from tall buildings in Atlanta but nothing like this.  My view of the world is forever changed.

I’m on the grind everyday in Atlanta and I am going to spend more quality time with my wife and daughters when I return.  There was a peace and calmness that my trip to BV provided.

I’m really excited that this clinic is going to be an annual event so that I can come back next year and hopefully bring my family. The total population here is a little less than 3,000.  Click here to learn more about Buena Vista.

I’ve seen a part of the world that I never knew existed and people here are happy.  My take away from this trip is to slow down and enjoy life.  We have everything that we can possibly need in the big city of Atlanta and often times we complain because we want more.  There was no fee for me to climb the mountains and see God’s amazing views.  I had time to reflect and speak to God about my purpose on this Earth.

I want to focus on not taking my days for granted and empowering as many people as possible because I am part of God’s plan.

Honor The Game 2012.  Your legacy lives on Charlie Huyck.