Kobe Bryant, My Hero

The notification one the man’s phone sang a tune.

Apparently, it played the same jingle each time a notification came from the BBC World app because he recognized it immediately without looking at his phone.

Before he pulled it out of his pocket, “Ah BBC World. If it’s from them, you know it’s important!” He said with a chuckle.

He chose to read the notification out loud. When he did, the mood completely changed. “Kobe Bryant dies in aa helicopter accident. Multiple dead.”

My ears perk up. I was merely half-listening before; now he has my full attention.

The man turns to me, “I don’t know who that is. Do you?”

I was in shock, literal shock at the news. This can’t be. Kobe was just tweeting and on Instagram recently. He was happy and healthy with his family.

I quickly grab my phone. This must be some weird joke. My phone’s been on silent, I’ve been missing the notification from apps and friends. It’s true. But I still chose not to believe it.

“Are you sure its Kobe Bryant? Kobe Bean Bryant?” I ask, hoping that the man somehow accidentally said the wrong name.

The man looks at me with concern, “Are you going to be okay? You look visibly upset and shocked.”

I don’t know what condition was in, but I felt genuine confusion and disbelief. Kobe Bryant was just in the news a day ago. There’s no way he’s gone.

In the moment, I gather my breath and chose not to burden the man with my feelings, my oh so many feelings, “Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I was fortunate to have him on my favorite team for 20 years. I don’t think we have enough time for me to explain how much I’ve learned from him. He is my hero.

The man nodded in understanding and left the room.

I sit.
I check multiple sources.
I can’t help the tears beginning to fall.
Kobe is dead. One of my biggest heroes is gone.


Sometimes it is hard to explain the importance of a person in your life.

You could say a partner means the world to you because they provide love and affection.
Or a child can provide you with possibility and a future.
While God can provide purpose and a standard.

However, how do I begin to explain the importance of someone who I’ve never met? It almost seems silly to have allowed me to be influenced by someone so much, even to the point of today’s tears. A person who has never once cried for me. Is it wrong to have such strong feelings for a man who doesn’t know my name or even recognize my face?

Wrong or not, here I am. Broken hearted, shocked, and confused at the passing of Kobe Bryant, I still don’t want to believe it. It feels wrong. I pray for his family and the families of those involved in the accident and hope this is just a bad dream.


Kobe Bryant is one of my heroes for a variety of reasons. I’ve learned so much about basketball from him. I learned how to compete from him. I learned life skills from him.

The most important lesson that Kobe taught me was work ethic. As I grew into adulthood, I realized I had a problem. I don’t know how to consistently work hard. Sure there were people in my life that I worked hard with for a moment, a day, or for a short term goal. I have always been one of those people who is good at everything. I rarely needed to apply any extra effort outside of my casual talent.

I needed to learn how to work hard daily. I needed to learn how to work hard for a goal that is months, or even years away. I needed to see what it is like to work day in and day out on a goal that may take years to achieve. I needed a lesson on how to consistently work to a goal even when I failed time after time.

Kobe showed me that.

With every private gym session that was leaked to the public, with his consistent study of his craft, with his zero tolerance for those who chose not to work hard, Kobe taught me how to give my all in what I do, every day and night.

Work hard daily, never give up until the mission is complete. When you fail one way, try something different. When you see others outperforming you, learn a new trick to step ahead of them. When you finally find success, find a way to push yourself to achieve higher success.

That’s the most important lesson Kobe’s taught me. Every other lesson starts and ends with this one.


I like my heroes to be flawed. You see character in their lows. I remember one of the lowest times in Kobe Bryant’s life. As a fan, I only witnessed a piece of what he went through. He was caught committing adultery, he lost a child in a miscarriage, he lost the NBA finals, he lost some great teammates.

From my perspective, I had never seen a more popular man so alone.

Kobe Bryant showed me even the greats will fail. Some of these failures are bigger than others. Some failures are more public than others. Yet redemption can still be found in every single one.

At this point, he achieved enough success that he could walk away and still be considered a Hall of Fame player. He could start a new life outside of the limelight with less pressure to perform. Instead, he went to work.

Over time he was redeemed. He put in the effort and changed who he was. He showed his teammates a new side and he earned a new appreciation. He mended his broken relationship in his family. He eventually added more championships to his resume for the Los Angeles Lakers.

He owned up to his actions. Admitted his faults. Gave people the time they needed away from him. After taking ownership, he worked hard to gain respect. He worked hard to become someone new. His redemption didn’t happen overnight. It was at least a year of separation from his wife. It was years before he made the championship round again, and more until he actually won. He worked, every day, even when there seemed to be no progress form the day, month, or year before.

He worked hard.

I don’t believe in retirement anymore. One of the reasons why is because of Kobe. Once he walked away from basketball, he completely walked away. He didn’t keep one foot in the past, he moved on, acknowledging one volume of his life is complete. The next volume brought new ideas.

Kobe earned more than enough to sit and enjoy the rest of his life doing whatever he and his family wanted. Yet instead, shortly after he left the NBA, he became a writer and businessman. He started a sports drink company. He won’t prose which eventually turned into an Oscar winning animated short film.

I think that is one of the luxuries of giving your all in one area. You have the freedom to say, that is done, I can now fully give myself to the next stage in life. I can adjust my goals to the moment I’m in and work just as hard before in a new area.

To me, retirement should not exist. Rather, reinvention should take its place. It allows you to keep working hard, keep the mind creative, to constantly be learning.

It’s the lesson Kobe Bryant continually teaches me. Work hard every day on whatever your passion is.

Rest in peace, my hero.
Heroes may die, but legends, and lessons, live forever.

Choose Your Own Adventure!

I was chatting with a friend about my road trip. A couple months driving across New Zealand is kind of all I’m talking about lately. It’s going well! I’m stopping and staying wherever. I’ve been fortunate to do some of it alone, other parts with friends, and other portions with strangers.

Back to my friend. They asked me “Isn’t that scary? All that you’re doing. I don’t think I could do it”

I responded with, “My first time around, it totally was.”

Years ago, I went on a month long road trip around the USA. I briefly mentioned it recent a conversational vlog talking about road trips with Robb G. At the time, I was pretty nervous about it. In fact, I was very nervous about it.

The purpose of the trip was to watch one of my great friends get hitched. It was super important to me to be there, but it as on the other side of the country from where I lived. I did more planning for this trip than I have on any trip before or since.

Though I crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s, I was having trouble committing to the actual trip.

About this time, I was in the “pre-relationship” phase with a girl. I confided in her and confessed my apprehension about the trip. Of course, I made it as light hearted as possible, exaggerating the countless potential downfalls awaiting me at every turn.

Comedy is my coping mechanism.

One of the things I was most nervous about was a particular 11 day stretch. Over the course of those 11 days, I would not see a single person I previously met in my life.

That scared me.

For the most part, you see people you know every day. Friends you hang with, the local market folks who recognize you, or your neighbors. Oh yeah, family too! Going a single day without seeing a single person you know is rather difficult when you think about it.

This isn’t just an extrovert/introvert thing. I’m a social introvert, I prefer the company of a few close friends and regular solitude to recharge. However, 11 days where I would not see a single person I know was unprecedented.

A long period without a community is like a bit purgatory to me.

That was a few years ago, and in my opinion, not even close to the grandest trip that I’ve done. Yet when it comes to trips, I’ve never been more nervous than that one. I think it’s specifically because of those 11 days.

Nevertheless, I still did the trip! I mustered the strength and courage necessary to jump into my red MINI Cooper and drive more than 2,000 miles around the US.

Choosing that adventure, wasn’t easy. In fact, I probably made it harder than it needed to be on myself. I slept in hospital parking lots, truck stops, and camping in different locations throughout the country. I could have stayed in airbnb’s, hostels, or hotels, but I didn’t. I chose a different type of adventure.

Despite my travels and tales, I have trouble believing I’m adventurous.

The aforementioned girl and I dated for some time. Eventually, we ended. I didn’t have the same thirst for adventure as she, which she felt was enough to walk away.

Maybe this is why I don’t believe it when people describe me as adventurous.
Maybe I’ve been choosing adventure to prove to her, and my subconscious self, I am an adventure worth having.
To be real honest, maybe I’m just scared and traveling is my way of constantly running away. Could adventuring  be another word for hiding? A topic for another post.

I don’t hold it against the girl for ending it back then. I’ve definitely had my share of relationships that lacked the adventure I wanted. In those relationships, I felt bored.

Whenever I feel bored, I think of one of my college buddies who always told me, “Only boring people get bored.”

In this “boring” relationship, I remember sitting down with her by my side, her parents sitting on the adjacent couch, and together we watched the Laker game.

If anyone knows me, they know that I love playing and watching sports. The Lakers are one of my favorite teams! I have many great memories embedded in my mind because of them.

Despite doing something I regularly enjoy, I felt bored. I looked around, saw her parents, and used the moment as a forecast for my future with her. I said quietly to myself, “If I stay with this person, this will be my life. I’ll work a 9-5 and come home to a wife who does the same. We’ll talk about our days as we prep a meal. Then she’ll fall asleep next to me as I cheer for my favorite sports teams.”

This seems boring.

That younger version of myself didn’t understand how to choose adventure. Years later, I realized how wrong I was. It definitely took time to see it, but only boring people get bored.

My learning process started with making fun of my best friend Cameron for never leaving a one mile radius of his house. He met a lovely woman and married her right out of college. Together, they chose to start an adventure that’s led them to today where they have three little ladies, two dogs, and a plethora of fish in a tank.

Every day Cameron chooses adventure. He chooses to father his children, to teach the dogs how to sit, and to clean the fish tank.
His life is such an adventure!

My other bestie, Stefan, studied with me at Azusa Pacific. He worked harder than anyone else I knew in school. He lives in Colorado Springs, the town where he grew up. A place where he can drive around and say “I went to this place as a kid.” Despite this city being one where many young people leave for the more popular Denver just an hour’s drive north, he chooses the adventure of staying.

Today, he works hard, as does his wife, to provide and raise a child.
An owner of a house, a married man, with a beautiful baby, Stefan lives a life of adventure.

Somedays, I have to remind myself, I am an adventurous person. (to be honest, I have to remind myself of a variety of things like I am a good photographer, I am a good comedian, I am a good cook.) I just choose adventure that differs from many people’s definition of adventure.

Adventure is where you stretch yourself beyond which you thought was capable.
Adventure is choosing to do the hard thing; the thing that you’re afraid to do, the thing those around you aren’t doing.
Adventure is in the every day.

I’ve learned any person can be adventurous in any stage of their life. Adventure isn’t just climbing a mountain. It isn’t just hiking the Machu Pichu trail with gusto! There is adventure in moving to a new country for some and for others adventure is staying in the same town your were raised.

Choose your own adventure.

Road Trip: The Plan

So it’s been a little while since I posted a vlog about my road trip. You can watch my Road Trip: The Beginning pt 2, along with a conversation with my dear friend Robb.

Since then I’ve started driving around here, there, and everywhere, going to different places and seeing the sites! I absolutely love road trips. They’re the best way to see a country. This particular trip is from the northern tip of New Zealand to the southern tip. It’s so exciting!!

Though I’m on the road trip now, you can take a look at how I’ve mapped out my path.


2020 Phrase of the Year

Apparently it’s common for people to have a word or phrase of the year.

I’m big on goals for the year, you’ll see a vlog on that later, but a phrase that is supposed to represent you for an entire year. That’s intriguing.

I think it’s a neat idea. You can run big decisions of the year through the filter of the word or phrase. It would help a people keep focused on their phrase of “positivity”, “community”, or any other word they might.

I assume people take a lot of time to thoroughly ensure they have the right word for this point and time in their life.

Alright, I picked mine. Drum Roll Please!

2020 Phrase of the Year: Show Me Some (Fluffy) Passion!
(PG edit because my nephew is 6, and I like to imagine he is an avid reader of his uncle‘s blog.)

Long ago, I read a person’s comment on Reddit about something that changed their life.

Technically, not something, rather, some words. 

They decided they would post the words Show Me Some (Fluffy) Passion in their house. If my memory serves me right, they posted it in their bedroom so they could see it every day.

Each day they woke, read the words reminding them to show passion.

The redditor mentioned after some time, they noticed change in multiple areas of their life.

Work changed because they were reminded to show the passion that once earned him the job. Married life changed because they showed the passion felt instead of letting it sit. Their life changed because they started looking for things they were passionate about and pursuing them.

Humor me for a moment, as I dive into the phrase.

Show Me

Every 20-something year old with a guitar will tell you they’re passionate about music. Others may talk about the outdoors, social justice, and community as their passion.

In many cases, a 30-something year old passion may have live a life directly impacted by their passions. Or they could be discovering their passion for the first time. (I’m a year away from my thirties, and I’m in many ways just learning and pursuing my passions.

For most people 40’s and above family life has really kicked in gear, and the passion of old isn’t the same. It’s changed direction.

The point of the Show Me, is to prove it. A stranger should be able to walk into your life, follow you for a day/week/month and at the end of it say, “You’re passionate about music/family/money.”

To say you’re passionate about a topic is one thing. To go out there and show it is entirely different.



We have the ability to be passionate about a lot of things. What we don’t have is the capacity for showing our full passion in every single category. There’s just not enough time in the day. That’s why some is so important.

Choose a few of your passions to focus on. Some of them will pan out into something greater! Which is very cool. Some of them will not. No worries, a passion doesn’t have to equal a business or amazing performance. If you decide a passion is done, cool, we have another passion that can take its place.

Show some of your passion daily. If your passion is dog walking, Don’t spend 10 hours on dog training once and then be over it for a month. Show some today, some the next day, next week, next month. Get in the habit of continually showing some.

Plan to show it.
Make time on the calendar for it.
When you have free time, study it.

Put some effort into your passion. Otherwise, your passion is just a wish.



If you’re passionate about music make the best music you possibly can. Then grow in the passion and learn more. Get better.

If your job is your passion, walk into work and show yourself. Make you believe again, you are passionate about what you do.

When your passion has a new focus, devote yourself to it. If your passion is those around you, show passion for family by changing as they change. By loving them where they are as they grow to find and chase their passion.

Showing passion isn’t an extravagant moment. It’s daily. It’s a grind. It’s hard.

It’s not going out with the boys because you want to get one more shot of the night sky. It’s not finding ways to leave work early, but learning ways to better employment. It’s learning the more about why the heck your child is excited about seeing a penguin in Minecraft.




Now, I shouldn’t have to explain what this word really was when the person wrote it. It’s what I like to call a “heightening” word.

It emphasizes anger, excitement, disappointment, shock, horror. It takes the feelings of wherever its placed to the next level.

Some of you need to add more fluffy to your pursuit of passion. Heighten your pursuit. Go to the next level. Don’t stay in one spot with your passion, until it’s time to set the passion aside.

So seek help. In our Information Age, there are too many resources available for you to stop learning.
Google exists.
YouTube exists.
Pinterest exists.
The information is ripe for your picking. Go out there a fluffy do it!

Get on yourself and do it. Amp yourself up.  Heighten your focus. Get in there and fluffy work.


Passion is like abs. You have them. You can’t tell me you don’t, because all of us do. Some of us are just learning where they are and how to show them. Others of us have been showing them off for years and posting pictures on Instagram of them. Some of us forgot we have them when we stopped pursuing them and lost them under thick layers of laziness.

Nevertheless, our abs and passion are there.


So this is my 2020 Phrase of the Year: Show Me Some Fluffy Passion.

I’m hitting the point in my life, where I need to be pursuing these passions. Pursue, lest I forget I have them. Pursue daily, a grind that allows me to grow in them; grow with them.

These passions are mine. They were given to me and are my responsibility. No one else has passions exactly like mine.


Once more:

Show. Me. Some. Fluffy. Passion.