It started out on Saturday 1/18 with me demanding I go to the Oakland Airport to pick up Barry Wressell by myself in my cop car. Anneliese was beside herself as well as the kids. Eddie kept yelling, mommy don’t let him go by himself. Alli asked, when will you be back? I have to babysit but I can go. I finally had to yell at all of them! I CAN DO THIS. Anneliese kept saying, really 880 and traffic? Airport? As I got myself in the car and everyone watched to make “sure I could do it!” I started the car. Eddie looked at Anneliese and said, say a really Good, GOODBYE,. They were so worried about me. As I looked in the rear view mirror,there they stood, in the middle of the street. Watching me drive away- they felt as though I was their newly crowned 16 year old child.
It was great when the family got a snapchat from Barry, showing them us together and driving home.
We got ready and headed out, but this time Anneliese was driving Barry and I to Foster City to celebrate our teammates and friends receive their awards.
We got their and immediately had to crack up when Barry unleashed our outfits. It was truly the 3 Amigos. We slowly got ready and Anneliese had me already sitting upright in the bed when Barry walked in. He died laughing walking in and seeing me with this outfit on, it nearly killed him. Kenny Norman also came up to give me my birthday present. He also laughed at my costume for the party.
Wow, what an incredible time I had at the AFM banquet.
I was excited and anxious all at the same time but I was pre~occupied with my 3 amigos outfit. It’s been a tradition for me for the past 4 years to dress up in crazy outfits. It was the year of the 3 Amigos, created by Barry Wressell – the other amigo was a, long time AFM racer all around good guy- who also has the same birthday as me, Michael Ernest.
Shoot, what a fun time with these guys. We all laughed so hard at times about our outfits, the 42 inch waists he got us, the pinning of the pants! The ties, vest, and the freakin hats! Gosh, these were awesome costumes.
When we got downstairs, the greeting was unbelievable! Everyone loved the outfits and were so nice. It was so great to see everyone. So many people I hadn’t seen since the accident.. For so many that have seen me after my stays in the hospital say, I look so much healthier since they have seen me. Made me feel great!
We sat at the table that I have sat at for more than 20 years. This time it was different. It was still great with everyone there but I felt different. I was in a different situation. I would not get an award for number 1,2,3,4,5 etc. I would sit in my chair and cheer on everyone else.
At one point, I looked at Anneliese, she read my mind and said are you ok? I said not really.
It all of a sudden was really hard on me. I was sitting at a table with my friends but felt all of a sudden lonely in my world. As I sat there through all of the awards, it got easier. I was trying to whisper to Jeff Legit when Anneliese said, shhhh…. Let’s listen to what Berto says.
It was the beginning of a huge honor for me and a huge emotional evening for my whole family. I was honored with an incredible award/trophy “The Hailwood Trophy” The trophy says “Donated after the AFM’s 50th Anniversary by Jim and Jason Manning, AFM road racing enthusiasts, in memory of Ivan Wagar, editor of Cycle World. Originally presented to Mike Hailwood, who received it from Soichiro Honda for winning a Japanese Grand Prix race in the early 1960’s.”
I’m thankful I gave 22 years of my life to such a fun fun sport. I have made incredible friends who continue to support me through this journey now on 4 wheels.
Thanks everyone at the AFM, what a great night!
My wife has friends and family who are always looking out for us. Her friend in New Zealand, Liz, sent us a cool video and not long after, her cousin, Tracy, sent her the same video. This is an incredible video that we are in awe of. Anneliese wants to put together some sort of fundraiser so we can attempt to get in line for this incredible machine (cost is $15k). After seeing this, it would be so great not to live my life always in my chair inside buildings!
Here’s to looking forward to standing up in the machine most of the day instead of sitting.
Check out the cool link below, pretty awesome.
Jeff Leggit from Mach 1 picked it up along with my Suzuski DRZ 190 – he’s going to ship this to a friend in Hawaii that I sold it to.
Thinking about selling my beautiful R1 motorcycle that has been beautifully re-done since the incident. Hard to let go as she’s a beauty – but hard to look at since I can’t ride it. She currently sits in our family room as garage art.
Anyone interested please let me know. Pics below.
Going to practice driving my cop car for my test the next couple of weeks.
Anneliese, Alli, jack and I headed to supercross last weekend at the Oakland Coliseum.
We decided to take BART. That was so simple and easy! Interestingly enough when you get on the handicap elevator you never use your ticket that you paid for… So, $40 worth of tickets never got swiped? That was interesting. We figured they must have a camera and bust whomever abuses it? We couldn’t figure that one out but jeez another benefit of being paralyzed. We had the colorful attendees on the BART, a few homeless guys coming through begging for money. Funny thing was, they looked at me and either tapped me on the shoulder or said, good luck to you brother, lol. So, as time goes by, I’m seeing a few benefits of this condition… Good parking, not being bugged on BART and free entry!
It’s an interesting adventure…
My wife has a big birthday coming up so I’ve been busy planning a little something for her.
So glad for my family and friends. You all make my life worth living everyday.
She had a sad conference call a couple of days ago. They announced they were shutting down her company in Chicago. As of now, she no longer has a job. She will have to begin the job search all over again amongst everything else. Her phone hasn’t stop ringing with new companies and head hunters. Her head is spinning as she wasn’t prepared for this. Hopefully her old boss has an opportunity for their team to move to another company together.
I continue to go to my Rehab in Vallejo at Kaiser with my original “wrecking ball crew- Todd.”
I intend to begin my outside Rehab at SCI Fit the first of Feb. Loving driving and feeling a bit independent. Went to our storage this past Sunday and drove myself! My son was my co-pilot. I met my good friends Mat Orange and Lindsay Thompson. They purchased some of my goodies I had in storage. Lindsay always surprises me with her amazing baking skills and a tray full of goodies!
Had dinner with our friends Mike and Laura last night, we had their kids over with ours- playing games etc. What a fun night! Jen (my Ex-wife) continues to be a great friend and help. She’s helping me plan Anneliese’s 50th little party. Anneliese wanted nothing – but we decided she is going to have a little something. I’ve already given her a menu of a full day day of spa, including hair. She so deserves this treat.
I’m looking forward to starting SCI Fit soon. I’m feeling good, but the long rods in my back have been killing me the past few nights. Not sure why. I’ve had a hard time staying up too late because of the pain. The other issue I’m having is my right shoulder. Not sure what I did, but I clearly pulled something. Hard for me to lift myself and need a little more assistance than I like. I will give it a few more days, hopefully it approves. Other than those issues I’ve felt pretty darn good. Loving my freedom of driving, it’s been so amazing to be in control again. The simplest of things we all take for granted.
Anneliese and I continue to push forward and try to live the best life we can. She continues to take amazing care of me and continues to be my best friend. We laugh a lot together but also get frustrated with each other and sometimes end in tears. It’s part of the process, but every month we seem to get a little stronger.
I spoke with Wayne Rainey the other night and he validated my feelings that sometimes it’s just hard to do things, or maybe we can’t. It’s part of my new found life – it will piss me off at times but it’s something I have to deal with. Thank God for family and extended family. We wouldn’t know what we do without all of family and friends. I might say this every time, but it’s so amazingly true. I couldn’t have done the past 6 months without this support.
A good friend said to me, I tried to live a day in a chair – He said, F**#*k it after an hour. He couldn’t reach anything in the kitchen, it was hard to get around. He said to me, I can’t imagine living like you do daily.
Reality is, you adjust to what your dealt with. I’m getting by and doing my deal. I might not be as exciting right now as I use to be (not sure I ever was) but I will get to a level that I’m doing more and going more.
Thank you to everyone who continues to support me. Your generosity is unbelievably thoughtful and so appreciated from my family.
I’ll let you know if I pass my drivers test with my hand controls! I will be able to drive myself to the gym, such incredible freedom! Amazing the little things I took for granted now are so appreciated.
This injury has changed my life in so many ways. You learn what and who’s important.
Life is fragile, live it hard and enjoy it heavily. Enjoy simple things, they really are the best things.