#23) Kyle 18

Yesterday I was listening to Jim Rome’s radio show, and he announced that “Kyle 18” was going to be the next guest.  I figured this might be some stage handle for a wrestler, but as Rome explained, it actually refers to the fact that it was the 18th show in a row on which a guest was named Kyle.  That, in and of itself, is an example of Rome’s offbeat appeal: as he explained, the streak started out organically, by chance if you will, but before long, they realized they had something going and made a point of getting a guest named Kyle as many times in a row as they could.  (Kyle 19 will be New York Jets running back Kyle Wilson.)

But back to Kyle 18.  Kyle Spicka, a semi-pro paintballer, is quite an interesting story.  As he explained on Jim Rome’s show, his journey to paintball stardom was not an easy one.  He grew up as an only child with a single mother, and he worked extra jobs during high school to pay for his paintball expenses, which he estimated at five hundred dollars per month.  He was also unusually short in high school and was prescribed human growth hormones.  Even as a professional paintball athlete, he still has to supplement his income with a job at Nordstroms(!).

It’s interesting to consider his dedication and willingness to sacrifice.  In sports, as in other areas, athletes with the most natural talent, who grow up in an ideal environment, sometimes lose out to those with more pure dedication.   Kyle “18” Spicka certainly had reasons to quit, but he didn’t.   It’s a theme that I see a lot in my work as a music instructor, in hiking, in creating a Web business and more: if you don’t want to do something, you’ll find a way not to, but if you do, things that may seem like obstacles to the outside observer won’t stop you.

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