At the tender age of 3 the doctor noticed that Aidan, my younger brother, had a “lazy eye” and that he would need glasses to correct his vision. Surprisingly enough there aren’t too many glasses made for 3 year olds that won’t break every week. I remember his first pair had big circular frames and Mickey Mouse pictures on them. They also had arms that wrapped around his ears so that they wouldn’t fall off. Unfortunately these cute little glasses with extra support around the ears were not enough to stand up to the beating Aidan gave them. They got glued and repaired almost every night by my father. It was either that he fell down, got hit in the face with a ball, or they just fell off and got trampled. No matter the excuse, the glasses were destroyed, glued all over, and mangled after the first month. Needless to say, after this first pair my parents would just go into the store and ask for the toughest pair, but each fell to my tough brother.
Fast forward about 6 years to our backyard. Aidan was swinging on the vine in the woods behind our house. We had swung on it countless times before, but not anymore after this incident. As I gave him a big push he swung forward and the vine snapped, smashing him into the ground and sending the huge vine right onto his nose. There was a loud smack, but surprisingly no crying. Even with what appeared to be a broken nose, Aidan let out no scream or cry, not even a wimper.
About 5 years after the vine incident, Aidan and his friend were spinning in place and then seeing how far down a steep hill they could run without falling. Dizzy and confused, he took a few steps forward and fell down the hill, breaking his scapula. The doctor later informed my parents that the scapula was a rare bone to break, and that it usually only breaks in geriatric people who have fallen. This story would be slightly unusual, but still normal if it weren’t for the fact that a week later he ran the 4 x 200m relay at the CYO championships at Franklin Field, home to the Penn Relays. This is probably the greatest stadium in all of track and field, and it was here that he was attempting to break the record he had set with his team but without a broken scapula. Unfortunately, he and his team did not place nor did they break their record. But Aidan was able to get a gnarly picture of him running with pain in his face, which now hangs framed in our basement.
Needless to say, my brother is an incredible athlete who shocks me every time he competes. He shows just how far the human body is able to push through pain to get results. His ability to ignore and push through pain is at the core of why he is such a good athlete.