Looking back, the summer of 1995 may have inadvertently been the most influential summer of my life. It started with graduating high school and heading to Memphis for UCA work week with 9 of us, Doug, myself, and 7 girls, packed into 2 cars. Midway through work week one of the girls concluded staff wasn’t for her and decided to take her car and go home, leaving 8 of us in 1 car. It quickly became apparent that Doug and I would be left behind. That turned out to be one of the best things that could happen to us because Doug and I would spend the next 5 weeks going from camp to camp trying to get closer to home. This journey caused us to become much closer friends and let to us meeting or better getting to know several people that influenced and continue to influence my life.
Included among those are people I cheer with at Kentucky, Saleem Habash, who became my coach the following year and business partner over 10 years later, Brian Elza, who among other things pulled me into judging alot after Saleem and I sold the gym, and Chris Crabtree, who is my current roommate. It included Tim Giron who invited me to be his graduate assistant coach at Southern Miss about 4 years later, and Les Stella who became my boss over 15 years later.
I have to imagine there are more people I met during stretch that I’m not attributing to that time. Jomo Thompson, Jimmy Lassiter, Michelle Edwards, Craig Monte, Matt McDonough, and a couple others come to mind as maybes, but I think each of them was a year off or later that summer.
In case you don’t remember Doug, here’s his 1998 championship winning partner stunt routine with Brooke Davis, who I met later in the summer of ’95.