I held back tears a few times this Thursday morning sitting on the saddle of a Schwinn indoor cycling bike. Tom was teaching his last, “retirement ride” on his 79th birthday. SEVENTY-NINTH!
Lesli, one of my bosses, had decorated the room with such detailed festivity, the way only a seasoned mom of three boys can. There was coffee, homemade protein bars, fruit and fun donuts.
Halfway through the ride, Tom told stories of all the jobs he’d held in the last few decades, and said this one–teaching indoor cycling–was his favorite because he got to hang out with pretty ladies. 😉 I suspect it’s for reasons far deeper than the ladies.
His wife is a marathon runner (also in her seventies). She and their daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were there to cheer him on for his last ride. It was beautiful to watch them all interact. So proud of him; as they should be. His granddaughter took a picture beside him on stage and I thought about how she’ll have that photo framed somewhere special the rest of her life. Her papa taught cycling until he was almost 80 years old and inspired others to get off their bottoms and move.
Tom’s last song was “How Great Thou Art” and I thought I was going to lose it…yes; how great He is. He gives us breath and health and inspiring people like Tom to push us along in life. To nudge us toward the right decisions.
Lesli presented him with a t-shirt that read, “Most Inspirational Instructor Just Keep Spinning.”
I’ll be taking over Tom’s cycling class next Thursday at 7:45am if you want to join me. I won’t do him justice, but I’ll try.