Talk about a surreal moment… Driving to Eau Claire listening to the La Crosse ESPN Radio affiliate and the following local news spot starts off with “Congratulations to Frank Lamping for being the 19th fan elected to the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame…” It was awesome!!! The entire local news spot was focused on my Uncle Frank and his recent induction. As the few minutes of recapping why he was selected I just smiled and had tears of happiness running down my cheeks.
What I’m thankful for today is for Uncle Frank allowing many of us to hitch a ride on his dream. Over the past 24+ hours it’s been a crazy ride of hearing congratulations from friends and co-workers, seeing news stories everywhere about my uncle, sharing hugs and conversations with family, helping people understand that yes, he really is the first person in the stadium every game day… Hearing it on the radio just struck a chord for me.
Shutting off the radio to have time to take in the moment and just think about this entire experience was exactly what I needed. As my mind went over everything from going to games with Uncle Frank to the fan voting process to yesterday’s events I just kept coming back to the same conclusion, how amazing is it that not only did he accomplish his dream, but he allowed all of us to share in that dream with him?
By hitching a ride on this dream he helped us learn several amazing lessons if we take the time to think about them. As I drove there were three that really stuck out for me. As you have time to think about this please let me know what other lessons, ideas, or inspirations you’ve gotten from this experience.
The first is the power of giving. One of my mentors explained it to me in a very easy to understand way once. “Give. Just give with no intention of ever giving back. Give more than you think you can afford to give, you’ll find that you can afford it. After you give, the rewards that will come back to you in the end are priceless.” Uncle Frank’s journey is a testament to this. One need only look at the many members of the community who united to support him. How many lives has he touched in a positive way? How many of us were given something by him, whether a thing, a helping hand, an experience, a hug, or anything? Never asking for praise, never asking for re-payment, he just continues to give. In living this dream it’s so powerful that he was able to see a glimpse of just how many people he’s impacted in his life. For each of us that he brought along, how many conversations have we had with friends and family who voted for Frank even though they’d never met him? How many times did people vote for him because they knew us and wanted to help us and give us a gift? Uncle Frank, you gave again through this experience, you gave each of us a chance to see some of the lives we’ve impacted. Thank you for reminding us of the power of giving!
The second lesson is that attitude truly is everything! That said, life is too short to choose anything but optimism, happiness, and positivity. You’re always in a great mood! Everyone is drawn to that positive energy and want to be near you because of the constant source of happiness. You remind us to be aware of our attitude and our ability to choose it. With your health diagnosis it would be easy to say “why me,” but instead you choose to kick cancer’s ass and not be a victim to it. No matter what you face you hit it the same way, with happiness, a positive attitude, a smile, and passion. As Frank’s story has been told many times how many of us have paused at one time or another and realized that we were bummed about something or playing the role of victim or complaining only to stop and remember that when you got the news that no one wants to hear you stayed positive, optimistic, and chose the right attitude. Thank you for reminding us to choose our attitude!
Lastly, thank you for sharing the power of passion. The passion you have for the Packers. The passion you have for your community. The passion you have for your family and friends. The passion you have for Aunt Andrea. The passion you have for life. At every step of the way it was truly this overwhelming passion that just exudes from you that helped you win this honor. You live your life with incredible passion, and based on the following quote by Vince Lombardi, we can see why you received this honor. “Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.” Thank you for reminding us of the incredible force of passion, of heart power.
Hitching a ride on your dream has been incredible and has helped me look at my life and my values in from a different perspective. Uncle Frank, while these three lessons have been very impactful for me and for many others, I have to say that there is one thing that I am thankful for more than them. There’s one thing that is so awesome I feel that my words won’t do justice to the gratitude that I’m feeling.
You taught my boys that nice guys finish first. Gavin and Dominic were able to see a real life example of how someone can reach their dreams. They saw how living a life of the right values leads to rewards greater than winning. As you put it, the journey is the reward, and we had to explain this to them when there was a chance that you weren’t going to win. Of course they still wanted you to win, but they saw that you had already won because of the way you’ve touched the lives of so many others. You taught them that going with your passion, in any direction that it may take you, can lead you to great reward. You taught them to stay happy, stay upbeat, and stay positive. You gave them a story that we can go back to when discussing values, you gave them a story they’ve met and hugged. What an incredible gift you’ve given them!
To close up, is there a more fitting way than another Lombardi quote?
“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”
While we all know that you never ever stop or slow down, and we’re all pretty sure you’ll never lay exhausted on the field of battle, we do know that you’ve worked your heart out in a good cause and are victorious. Thank you for letting us all hitch a ride on your dream!