As Luck Would Have It, I Knew This Great Man!By Nicki On April 26, 2010 Under Uncategorized
I can honestly say, one of my biggest fears is death. I know, there is the religious and philosophical side of it, but somehow, the idea of death doesn’t prompt any feelings of comfort. My fear? Losing someone close to me and realizing that I will never hear that person’s voice, be able to pick up the phone and call them with a question or have a cup of coffee over a great debate. This past week one of my fears came to pass. A friend, mentor and amazing individual passed away. His name was Phil Lawler and if you didn’t know him, how unfortunate for you. I was fortunate enough to not only know this man, but to call him my friend.
About 10 years ago, as I was trying to spread my “Fitness Rules” message throughout my community, I received a phone call from Phil. Phil had the greatest passion ever. His call was unsolicited, he just felt that maybe he could be of some help, so typical of Phil to help out. He said, “Say Nicki, you don’t know me but I’d sure like you to come over to Madison Junior High where I teach phyical education as I’d like to throw some ideas at you.” If you know Phil, he was never short on ideas. From that moment on, he became my mentor and friend. He was one of the few people that believed in my mission to change the world to better health and he was willing to help me at any and every turn. I will miss his boundless energy, his interest in anything new and relevant and his undying love for his family and students. So much he gave yet he required so little in return.
Phil actually turned the Physical Education model around. He saw that it was broken and was determined to fix it to make sure that our children learned to love fitness in a non-traditional way. He brought “fun” to physical education and created a model for physical education that drew experts and teachers from all around the globe. His dedication to getting kids to move was powerful and triggered my passion into “family” fitness. Phil’s Physical Education model even inspired Dr. John Ratey who wrote the book, “Spark.” A must read if you haven’t read it.
My heart goes out to Phil’s family, who are amazing as well. But my heart also goes out to those that never had the opportunity to meet this man. My heart is sad for those children that will never have the opportunity to “catch” Phil’s physical fitness enthusiasm. But one thing I do know is that those of us who loved and admired him will certainly do our best to continue pushing his passion forward and working tirelessly to get kids moving and families healthy. What an amazing legend he left behind.