Vidakovich: Regular guys have made great lives |

Vidakovich: Regular guys have made great lives

Mike Vidakovich
Staff Photo |

I recently had the privilege of spending a few afternoon hours with my insurance guy as he guided me through the new health care website. It’s an understatement to say that without him by my side, I would have been lost and befuddled by the lengthy application that stared back at me from the computer screen in his office.

It came as no surprise to me that he was willing to give up so much time that he really didn’t have. I’ve known him since we pulled our rugs close and took nap time near each other in Ms. Bertholf’s kindergarten class at Glenwood Elementary. He has always been kind in his ways and willing to lead, whether it was in a game at recess when we were children, or as the quarterback on the local high school football team.

I’ve found it to be true that good big people usually start out as good little people.

There’s this golf course superintendent guy I know who I went to school with when we were pups. We get together each week for a run and conversation. I noticed during our last run that the golf course guy wasn’t moving like usual. He had a bit of a hitch in his get along. Seems he had spent the day shoveling and digging tree roots out of a culvert, so the beautiful course on the hill in Glenwood will have plenty of water when spring arrives. He worked away the day in an area that would have been more suited to a midget, but he still showed up eager to run and talk. He’s had that same work ethic since we were boys. There’s never been any quit in him. No wonder our local 9-hole layout is always in mint condition.

The local grocery store guy runs a pretty tight ship in his establishment from what I can gather.

Whenever I stop by to stock up on some oatmeal or sardines, I see everything arranged neatly and everyone working and willing to help those who enter the front doors. The grocery store guy knows what success is and how to achieve it. He was one of the best basketball players I’ve seen around these parts. You didn’t want to try and stop him on the court. He would find a way to win in basketball the same way he has found a way to win in life.

I know this oil company guy who used to always watch out for me when we were young. He still watches out for me even though he lives a time zone away. He was a football runner, basketball point guard, and track man for the hometown Demons. This oil company guy always knew what he wanted and was willing to go get it. I see his family now when he visits, and I feel the joy in his heart at how life has rewarded his efforts with riches that no money could ever buy.

Believe it or not, I know a big-time college athletic director. He wasn’t always in the spotlight. This athletic director guy used to be regular, just like the rest of us. He would show up at little league baseball practice with parts of breakfast still on his face and his hair sticking up in different directions. He wasn’t especially fast or gifted, but he found a way, through his commitment to sports and school work, to become an all-state lineman in football and earn a college scholarship. He moved through the ranks of athletic administration with the same determination that he used to deal with blitzing linebackers on the gridiron. The athletic director guy still keeps in touch on a regular basis. He called this past summer to inquire about the old gang in Glenwood. He seems like the same guy I knew when we were 10 years old, other than his hair is gray now and he combs it.

A few short weeks ago, I listened as a high school basketball coach told his eager young charges that he strongly believes in the age-old adage that good things happen to good people. He stressed to them that the community projects they would do as a team during the coming season were as important as what would unfold on the basketball court. I looked around at the glistening eyes and curious glances as they contemplated what their coach had just told them.

It’s true. It’s not just a saying. Good things will eventually find the people who deserve them most. I’m convinced that starting out on the human journey with a pure heart and an admirable work ethic will lead to a future as bright as the stars above.

Just ask some of the regular guys I know.

Mike Vidakovich is a freelance writer from Glenwood Springs. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent

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