Yes, it hurt. Yes, I questioned my sanity every minute of the 12 mile course. Yes, I’m paying the price today. But, it also felt good… and Yes!…I would do it again!
This month marks 37 years after my college football career ended… 37 years of trying to maintain at least some semblance of the shape I was in during all those years of experiencing the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. This month also marks nearly 34 years in claims, and 17 years as a business entrepreneur, and like those earlier football years, they also have yielding their share of victories and defeats.The world of claims has changed… and changed dramatically… over the past 34 years. Like most things, it’s just not the same as it was, and I often peer longingly into the past for “the good old days”. But, were they all that good? Did we not have our own share of defeats back then? It has been my experience that the saying, “Time heals all wounds”, is based on the fact that with time, we tend to forget the bad and only remember the good.When I think back on my college football career, I don’t really think about the oppressive August heat in South Louisiana, of the “3 a-day” practices, the killer sprints after practice, or of the games where I was literally crushed and embarrassed by my opponent. Instead, I think of the good things…the laughter in the huddles when Coach Ricketts would pick on one of us, of the feeling of a Saturday night when we gave our opponent a sound thrashing on the field, and the personal victory of receiving “Player of the Week” on two occasions in my senior year.
When I think back on my claims career, I also remember how I felt when I was chastised by my supervisor or manager for being a “stubborn hardhead”, or a “bull-in-china-shop” for not recognizing the value of, or following, their guidance or direction. As a business owner, I can also remember the times when things did not go as planned, and when we nearly went under. But I also remember, with much greater ease, the rewards. The compliments on my work, the promotions that often came when least expected, the kindness an insured or claimant would show by sending a card during the holidays to thank me for helping them in their time of need, or the feeling I got while working Hurricane Katrina after a policyholder called me her “guardian angel”.
We always remember the good times… and THAT is what keeps us going!
Yesterday I was feeling remarkably, and quite surprisingly, good as I ran by the 7-mile marker. I was amazed at how quickly I got through the “Electric Eel” and “Arctic Enema” obstacles”, or the seemingly ‘mile-high’ jump as I “Walked the Plank” to plunge into the muddy waters more than 20’ below. And when, at the 9-mile marker, my right ankle and left knee began to cramp and seize up and the pain began to show, I never thought of quitting. It angered me. I was livid. “How Dare They”, I fumed. So I hobbled along, sometimes at a walk, but always breaking back into a jog until the legs screamed for me to walk again. Two miles later, I was still running as we broke back out onto the parade ground to make the last quarter mile to Mount Everest where, surprisingly, I made it up and over the first time (although not without the exceptional support of my teammate, Elliot). I then continued a hobbling run to finish with “Electro-Shock Therapy” where I was literally knocked flat to the ground three times… and that’s when I really questioned my sanity!
But even today, the memory of pain quickly begins to fade, but not the achievements, and I think of how “next time” I’ll do this or that… (What!? A next time?)… yes, I suspect so… because, like so many of us, we never quit! Call it stubborn pride… call us hard-heads. We are what we are.
The same can be said for the world of “Claims”. We never forget the reason we’re here. It’s not to earn a paycheck. We can do that anywhere. We do it because we’re doing something good. We’re helping people who need help in times of need. We are no different than doctors, first-responders, or others who share that same feeling. No matter what pain we feel while we’re doing it, the feeling after it’s over is uplifting. And we’ll keep coming back… no matter what change the industry goes through. It will still need those of us who remember how it felt… GOOD!