The Power of the Story


Check out these shoes...they tell a great story!

It has been nearly a week since I left the American Heart Association. As many of my colleagues at the AHA would tell you, I am a man of many stories. I guess being a coach for all of those years helped with this “skill.” 

Yesterday as I was looking in my closet for the nearest t-shirt and pair of shorts to wear for the day (yes, I know…we are truly fortunate), I noticed my dress shoes that I wore nearly every day as I worked for the AHA. I took a picture of them for this blog. I feel that they tell a story. Let me explain further… 

As you see, they are worn thin in the heel area due to my pronation issue (or the side-to-side tilting of the foot) and the soles are also worn out. I ran in these shoes to get to meetings on time. These shoes saw their fair share of office buildings and sidewalks in downtown Denver (mostly 17th Street). I met a lot of people in these shoes, people who have not only become good customers but also good friends in the process (I am going to miss them all a great deal). In these shoes I helped two teams and countless team captains and volunteers raise nearly $2 million in two years. Needless to say these shoes were made for walkin’ and walkin’ they did! 

We all have our own “shoes”, our own stories, that can be shared to those around us. Do not get me wrong…I am a talker and many do not have this “gift of gab” as I do. However, the stories we have can make people around us much stronger and more able to handle life’s trial and tribulations. 

When I worked with Stephanie Clark, a former colleague at the AHA and a good friend of mine, she would say, “Tim, it seems that you know everyone.” Well, I would not go that far, but I do know this country’s geography, mainly because Candy and I have been all over it (with more to come shortly). I have always had the great gift of getting to know people just by knowing where they are from. It always served me well at the AHA and other positions and I pray it will continue to serve Candy and me as we travel and meet so many new faces on our upcoming journey.

Candy asked me the other day what I had learned in my experience at the AHA. I said that I learned that I could come out of my shell again, the shell I climbed into after walking away from the role of head men’s basketball coach at Hiram College in 2006. She said that “the true ‘me’ came out for the first time” while I represented the AHA. Thinking about what we have both been through collectively, I know she is right. 

In our experience together, one thing that has been consistent has been our ability to accept risk, hit the pavement, and see what God has in store for us. Many would say this is crazy; maybe it is. However, this is our opportunity to make more stories to share with others. Stories have always been a way to teach valuable lessons in strength and courage. 

Many who have heard of this “Radical Sabbatical” have said this to us: “Wow, I wish we could that!” My question to anyone who says this is: “Why can’t you?” 

Okay, I understand not everyone can do a trip like this but you can reach for your dreams. If your dream is to become a teacher and a coach, go do it. If you have a dream to own your own business, what is stopping you? I think you get the idea here. 

When we got to Colorado in 2006 we thought we were at the lowest point of our lives. Little did we know that it would only get worse in 2007. I will not go into details about this time (many of you already know our story anyway). 

The moral of our story is clear to me now after washing and vacuuming cars for Enterprise Rent-a-Car for over a year. Sometimes God puts us through tough times as a way to see if we can “get” through it. The bottom line is many folks miss out on the blessing of learning to “get” through it while “going” through it. The skill of reinventing yourself is one that needs to be talked about more, because we all will do it at some time in our lives. 

We can also learn something from everyone we meet; even those we feel do not have the same experience level as we do. When we are blessed by adversity we have paths we can take: the one of least resistance or the one that will get us to the place we truly want to be. Candy and I took the latter. 

We knew that with hard work and perseverance we could get back on the track to our dreams. I guess sometimes it comes in other packaging that is foreign to us (in this case, online teaching and coaching a high school team part-time). It is during these times that we need to open our eyes and look hard for what blessing is truly there. 

So, you see, my shoes tell a story: a story of battling hard to reach goals on both a personal and professional level; a story of continuing to keep walking toward those goals, even when the odds are against you; and the incredible power of a vision and a dream. I never wanted to get new soles for these shoes. I respect these shoes too much to do this, because they speak loudly to me of the “Power of the Story.” 

We are so excited to have you all along for our journey. It looks like we are getting closer to knowing the exact itinerary for the first four months out. Anacortes, Washington, just outside of Seattle, will be out first stop with arrival there slated for July 1, my 40th birthday. After this, we will be heading north to Palmer, Alaska, a small town outside of Anchorage, for at least a month. 

We are still unclear where will be heading in September (possibly Minnesota). Our opportunity to go to Vietnam fell through during that month, a major disappointment but one we can manage. In October we will be heading to Austin, Texas for five months. I was named the head girl’s basketball coach at the Regents School of Austin last month. We will be living near Lake Travis in a nice RV park there until early March. 

From there we will head eastbound toward Alabama for some time and then up the east coast. We might just drop in on you…we have been notorious for this in the past! 

Until the next post, we hope you have a great weekend and remember that your dreams can become a reality…just remember the power of the story! 


by tim

show hide 7 comments

06.12.2010 - 3:29 am

Brenda Tim & Candy, Thanks! I know someone (wink) who needs to read your story…especially the “you can reach for your dreams…go do it” part! Just so you know, you two are changing lives 🙂 Love, Bren

06.12.2010 - 5:08 pm

Deb Fencil Hello Tim (and family),

I received the name and address list from the Leadership weekend and saw your invitation to check out your “Radical Sabbatical”.
It sounds great! I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that you are an “Inspiration”. Thank you for your support in leading lives that “struggle to get through it while going through it”! You understand, Thanks.

Blessings to you and your family in all of your travels,

Deb Fencil

06.14.2010 - 5:58 am

Angi Rush While you are in Austin Texas, You should make the 1 hour and half drive to San Antonio. Would love to see you!

06.14.2010 - 10:41 am

Tim Rice Brenda,

Thanks for the kind words. We hope this blog will be more than just a “window into our world.” We hope it will help others see their world in a different way (including some people we know very well :))


06.14.2010 - 10:46 am

Tim Rice Deb,

Thanks for saying we are an inspiration! It was great to work with you during the Rockies weekend course. Please keep following us and also let me know if you need any academic assistance…I am always here to help or be a listening ear.


06.14.2010 - 10:48 am

Tim Rice Angi,

You can count on it! I think we have a tourney in San Antonio but I am not sure of the dates or school yet.

An hour and a half is just a short trip for us!

Take care!


01.27.2015 - 7:24 am

Sport Through Story: How Authentic Connection Can Change Sport for the Better | Sports Fitness Network […] I was fortunate enough to coach for 20 years. I coached basketball, cross country, golf, and even soccer at the college level and coached at the high school level for four years. I also worked in the business world for four years after stepping out of the full-time world of college coaching. I was mentored by many outstanding sport professionals during this time. I remember when I was given the chance to be a full-time online professor in 2010 and stepped away from the business world. As I closed my fundraising career, I actually had some worn-out shoes that I wore every day in my job that I felt told a story: a story of battling hard to reach goals on both a personal and professional level; a story of continuing to keep walking toward those goals, even when the odds were against me; and the incredible power of a vision and a dream. I have shared this story titled “Power of the Story” in a blog post of the same name here. […]

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