Tim L. and Michael L.

We sometimes engage in conversation about who is tough and who is not. Some will bring up professional athletes of one type or another or those who serve in jobs where toughness is required. Those are good examples but they overlook parents who, day in and day out, provide for their family and go beyond the call of duty to extend themselves past the ordinary.
Tim L. and his wife, Stacy, are such parents. The photo above shows Tim in his second gym session of the day, training his 30-year old son, Michael. The average length of human gestation is 40 weeks. Michael was born at 28 weeks. Michael suffers from Cerebral Palsy
and Diabetes. Michael has also undergone 3 eye surgeries, a tibial tendon transfer of his right foot, a chest tube placement for collapsed lungs, back surgery to implant a stainless steel rod along the spinal column to treat Scoliosis and has had “a couple of broken bones.”
During the course of his career and helping Stacy raise Michael and his brother, Matthew, Tim was struck with prostate cancer at one point and a Vagal Paraganglioma, a rare tumor that begins in certain nerve cells that are dispersed throughout the body, at another. This has left Tim with a paralyzed vocal chord. Tim is cancer-free for over 7 years now!

Tim once completed the United States Marine Corps Marathon. When I asked Tim if he ever served in the military he said no. “I look at the guys in the military and I question whether I could handle what they have to handle.” I suggested to Tim that if many of the guys in the military saw what he did on a daily basis they would probably question whether or not they could do it. In true real tough guy fashion Tim said, “You do the best you can with the cards you are dealt.”

The other tough guy in the story is Michael. Michael comes to train and brings a good attitude every time. It is difficult for Michael to do anything that requires movement but he does what he can and like everybody else who trains with us, he leaves his “zone of comfort” and he continues to improve. The training isn’t easy for Michael or Tim, but they both tough it out. Following the previously mentioned back surgery Michael had undergone, he refused pain medication. He just didn’t like it. Instead, Michael held Tim’s hand for 23 of the first 24 hours. To say Michael has been through a lot is a ludicrous understatement.

When I watch Tim and Michael work together I’m reminded of something that stands out from the Steven Pressfield book, Gates Of Fire. The book is a historical fiction story about the Spartans battle against the Persians at Thermopylae in Greece.

The main character of the story asks, “’All my life,’ Dienekes began, ‘one question has haunted me. What is the opposite of fear?’

““The opposite of fear,” Dienekes said, “is love.”

Toughness and bravery can be described in many ways and we all can provide examples of what makes for toughness or bravery but in its most powerful force it’s truly love that drives both Tim and Michael to overcome their unique challenges. If you are fortunate enough to train while Tim and Michael are training you’ll learn about strength and being tough in ways you would not have imagined.—-George




Back Squat: 1 X 20 @ body weight + 5 lbs more than last session

3 rounds for time of:

400 meter run

15 pull-ups

10 ring dips

24 Responses

  1. Mike G

    Love it George!! Tim and Michael (and for a little while Matthew) are an absolutely pleasure to have as part of our team!!

  2. Cathy

    Wow! What beautiful words, and what an inspirational demonstration of love, perseverance and toughness. Thank you Tim and Michael. ❤️

  3. Timl

    Thank you for the nice, if overstated words. The assistance and tips you all have provided knowingly and unknowingly have helped both of us. George, that was much nicer than the obit I thought you were writing when you talked my last metcon struggle. Thanks to all.

  4. George

    I forget to mention your modesty and sense of humor and the fact that you’re one of the strongest lifters in the gym!

    1. Norris

      What great words George!!! They are both so inspiring and make us all better. You are a great man Tim and such an amazing person!!! Love seeing you both at the gym

      1. Janine

        So amazing. Every time I see Tim, he always gives me an encouraging and warm smile. Such an inspiration. I love this gym more and more…

  5. Richie G

    Wow! Beautifully written Coach! Another example of you don’t know what other people have been through or are dealing with in their personal lives. Tim and Michael, your story is very inspirational. Tim, were hugging it out the next time I see you.

    1. George

      Thanks Richie! Yes, that’s why I like writing these…there are so many interesting and inspiring stories in our small community. It would be a waste not to share them. I learn just as much, if not more, than I coach!

  6. Jeanne Sivori

    I have yet the pleasure to meet either Tim or Michael; an honor it will be the day I do. In my view and in reading your inspiring message George, Tim defines what a parent/ father is and Michael – a true warrior is he! You George define human – heart and soul. It’s a blessing to have those such as yourselves in this world, thank you. xox

  7. Kristin Gandolfo

    Wow. Those are some inspiring words about Tim and his son. Such a kind and humble man too. Thanks for sharing a little of his story. Hits you right in the heart.

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