An open letter to Brandon Palaniuk: Welcome To…IT

An Open Letter To Brandon Palaniuk:

Welcome To…IT

“Cause it…”

Dateline: Brett & Shirley’s Kitchen, Waddington, NY

It is,

not the punch we deliver,

that makes us stronger,

It is,

the punch we take,

that makes us stronger.

It is,

not lifting the heavyweight belt,

that makes us stronger,

It is,

lifting ourselves off the mat,

that makes us stronger.

It is,

not what we give,

It is,

what we take,

that makes us stronger.

What is IT.

Quite simply,

it is the first footprint on the moon.

IT is,

the game 7, 3-2 count,


It is,

both feet off the ground, round ball just leaving your fingertips,



IT is not the results, of the swing, the shot,

IT is,

in the taking,

the swing,

the buzzer shot.

IT, my young friend Brandon, is quite simply,


IT, my young friend Brandon, is quite simply,

having heart,

when most have left the building.

“…makes me that much stronger…”

Talent, will get you in The Bigs, but only heart, only confidence will keep you there.

I have congratulated on your first win.

I have told you to know where your feet are during your first major crisis.

But now, all this is, this end game to the Trilogy, all this is, just a simple,


Welcome, to heart.

Welcome, to confidence.

Welcome, to having, IT.

Someday, far down the road from now when you are old like me and eat blue cotton candy for breakfast, you will look back at this and know that, your first win was only your first win.

That your first DQ, was only your first major bump in the road, but,


the most important month of your athletic career was the month of July, 2013,

when you had to sit and stew in the DQ,

my young friend, that month could have taken you out,

you got doubt, you don’t have IT.

circle that month dude,

it is the month that made you.


“…makes me work a little bit harder…”

I have spent the last two decades being around the biggest sports winners,

and whiners,

on the planet.

Champions, and chumps, sometimes, most times within feet of each other in the locker room.

Chumps blame others, 

champs, know the secret to IT, they know, that greatness comes with scars, greatness, Brandon, freakin’ hurts.

Good is easy.

Better, happens with work.

Best, takes a mouthful of dirt.

Best is diving into the box seats.

IT, is raising your glove,

with the ball in it.

“…makes me that much wiser…”

Some will say, this was easy, you had no other option but to do what you did, know this,

none of them would have done it.

I have found that those with all the questions, all the criticisms, in life, rarely have the answers, or the deeds to back it up.

What in fact would have been easy was to just blow this year off, chalk it up to who knows what, just coast through and look to next season.

Those who do that, may not have a next season.

IT, was not the coasting, but the running you did, IT was not the quest to win but, and I mean BUT, IT is the refusal to lose. 

When you get up even when you can’t, you have IT.

Brandon, I don’t know what will happen up on the stage today, I wish you and all the competitors nothing but the best,

but I will remember your voyage to IT, for as long as I can remember anything, it was a actual honor to watch it happen,

I hope your fans will remember it to, I’m pretty sure they will,

I only ask this of you now,

bring IT with you into your life OFF the water, off the stage.

Remember that all you are doing right now is JUST A GAME, and in the end will not count for much, if anything.

Bring IT with you in life, be the greatest husband, father, grandfather, be the champion of your family as well.

Here’s a secret we old guys know, we old guys with wives we love, children we love, dogs, not so much cats, we love,

the secret is the Beatles got IT right, “the love you make, is the love you take.”

When you can put the iron up on the mantle, and put love in your heart, then my friend,

you will have truly found,


“…so thanks for making me a fighter.”


Christina Aguilera