I got it, when I got hit.
In 1977 all I wanted was to fight in the olympics. Things were looking good. I’d been training for almost a decade. Black belt. Competing. Winning.
It would only take for more years of the same five hour a day grueling training under the world’s highest ranking Korean karate master. That’s all I wanted.
Entering my freshman year at the University of Vermont wouldn’t be a problem. That was only an hour drive from my coach and gym. Training would continue unstopped.
On campus, I was introduced to the new Chabad rabbi who just arrived to be in charge of the orthodox synagogue in town. Rabbi Shmuel Hecht.
He was the first orthodox Jew I’d ever met. For four years he coerced me into being his Shabbos guest every Friday night. I enjoyed the chicken soup. But my head was still in the gym.
By the time I graduated, four years later, my training had only gotten better. I thought the Olympics was a cinch.
This week was the 43rd anniversary of Rabbi Hecht’s passing away. In his early thirties he left the wonderful rebetzin, and two babies (one pictured above.) One is now Chabad shliach to Sunnyvale, California.
I sent the following video to him today. Telling about how it took a broken nose and his father’s selflessness to divert me from the olympics to yeshiva.