With this being my first time ever attending CPAC, it can be easy to get caught up in the awe of it. The faces you see on the other end of the television every day turn into actual people and conference goers get a chance to engage in a real dialogue with them. A welcome change from the usual one-sided shouting at the television.
In the midst of all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds CPAC, was a fortuitous bump-in with an old friend of mine from my high school wrestling days that will likely be the event I won’t soon forget.
Kyle Maynard, born with the congenital amputation of his arms and legs, wrestled in my weight class my freshman year of high school. Although we ultimately never met head-to-head in a match, Kyle and I were well aware of each other as the wrestling community in Georgia is a small one, and whenever our paths crossed at events we always shared a friendly greeting. Anyone who is familiar with high school or collegiate wrestling knows that tournament time is not social time, so our encounters were usually brief.
However, Kyle invited me to the CPAC Reagan Dinner and we had a chance to catch up on the past 10 years. Suffice it to say Kyle’s story has only become more inspiring.
Kyle achieved an incredibly high level of athletic success during his senior year, making it to the Georgia State Wrestling Championships, and receiving national attention along the way. He was featured on Larry King Live, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and ESPN to name a few. Since then, Kyle has successfully pursued endeavors in writing, motivational speaking, and continuing to push the bounds of his physical ability. He informed me last night that he just recently returned to the United States following a successful summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
His book, No Excuses, is a New York Times Best Seller and one that I think everyone should read. In a time when excuses are not only prevalent, but have become the norm, looking inward and having a sense of personal accountability is paramount.
There is no more fitting a person to trumpet the principle of “No Excuses” than Kyle Maynard, and no more vital a time to perpetuate it. More of Kyle’s incredible story is located on his website and I can promise you its worth the look.