A Life Lesson
By: Jordan Brungardt
I remember the day like it was yesterday, I was just a sixth grade boy calling home to have my mother come and pick me up from school because I was sick. Immediately when she answered I could tell something was wrong, she was bawling her eyes out and the words coming out of her mouth were unclear. Throughout her muffled talking I could only make out one phrase, “Your dad is in the hospital, they think he had a heart attack.”
From that moment on my life was forever changed. My father, my role model, the man I looked up to most in life laid helpless in the hospital fighting for his life, and I couldn’t do anything to help him. This is not the first time my family had experienced this, in fact my grandfather died from a heart attack. The loss of my grandfather and the near loss of my father left my family with one decision; it was time to get heart healthy.
The change didn’t come right away, but it came as time went by. It was something we knew had to be done, but it was something that we couldn’t dive headfirst into. Changing our lives for the better would take baby steps, but that was better than nothing. Once my father was out of the hospital and almost fully recovered, our diets changed dramatically. We ate out less and what we ate when we were home was very healthy and not the grease ridden food we had eaten for as long as I could remember. We thought about what we were putting into our bodies instead of just eating the first thing we saw or the first food item that came to mind. We learned to control our food urges, and that it was ok to eat food that wasn’t so healthy for us, as long as it was in moderation.
We also began to workout, a concept that was completely foreign to my family before this happened. We were the type of family that would sit around all day watching television instead of going outside for exercise. After this, we were outside almost every day either playing or doing some type of outdoor activity. I started taking my athletics more seriously, running and pitching in the offseason, not only to stay in shape but to make myself a better baseball player as well. This offseason training brought my dad and I closer as he was the one I would workout with. We bonded over baseball, but we also bonded over being healthy. Before the heart attack, both my father and I were overweight. After these lifestyle changes were made, I am proud to say that my father lost almost 150 pounds and I lost a lot of body fat, growing taller and trimming up. We took the skills we learned back then and kept them going throughout the years and now I work out three to four times a week. If it wasn’t for the heart attack, I fully believe my father would not be here with me today. I am thankful that he is here with us today because I would not be the man I am today without him.