OPINION – I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Phillips last week.
He’s one of the greatest men I’ve ever met.
For those of you who don’t know who Jim Philips is, let me enlighten you.
Phillips has spent most of his life teaching a few generations of Northern Hills residents how to shoot a hoop, play baseball, tackle volleyball, ride a bike, run a lap, and feel good about yourself.
Phillips spent over 25 years as a physical education teacher and counselor in the Lead-Deadwood school system.
I met Philips in 2007, my first year at Black Hills Pioneer.
He was a football and basketball official for the South Dakota High School Activities Association.
At the time, I was the “new kid on the block”, but he went out of his way to strike up conversations with me and make me feel like I belonged.
He is truly one of a kind.
Those who have been lucky enough to have Phillips in their life know what I’m talking about.
On his 70th birthday in 2016, Phillips swam nonstop from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Deadwood Recreation Center, benefiting Black Hills Gold Swimming and the Lead-Deadwood 76ers swim team.
Phillips swam for 12 straight hours, covering 14 and a half miles, and raised over $ 10,000 for the benefit of young swimmers.
He is a true icon in our region, and I treasure the friendship we have developed over the years.
It’s one of the things I love the most about my job.
It allows me to meet people and make friendships, a luxury I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have a job that I love and that is so rewarding.
I work with great people who are not just my employers or my colleagues.
I consider them to be family.
How many people can say that?
Over the past 14+ years, I have had the pleasure of meeting countless coaches, school administrators, teachers, athletes, parents and fans over the years, and I feel privileged to have forged so many friendships that are still going strong today.
I don’t take things for granite because I know things can change in the blink of an eye.
The following also applies not only to sport, but to life in general.
When adversity strikes, you have to make a choice.
You can give up and quit and try to justify your reason for quitting, or you can keep fighting for what you believe in.
Over the past six years, life has thrown at me many curved balls.
I could have easily given up and no one would blame me, but quitting smoking is not in my DNA.
I sincerely believe that anything that doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
This applies not only to sport, but to life in general.
Under no circumstances should you give up pursuing your dreams and you should always live your life to the fullest.
It’s easy to stop something.
Sometimes it is necessary to quit smoking, especially when it affects your health or affects your quality of life.
There are other times, however, when things get tough and difficult, and rather than a fight, you simply give up and then blame others for your failures.
When adversity strikes and you think you’ve reached your breaking point, what will you do?
Are you going to take the easy way out and quit without a fight?
Or will you continue to struggle with every fiber in your body and do the things necessary to be successful?
The choice is yours.
See you at sporting events!
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