Revenge of the Nerds

20 08 2008

This guy inspires me.

Not just because  of his superhuman feats of strength, speed and endurance.  But because of his inner fortitude and resilience.  

While being interviewed with her son, his Mom told the story of how Michael was harassed and teased as a kid growing up in Baltimore.  He was awkward, his ears stuck out, he was skinny.  The kind of things that make a guy self-conscious.  And somehow, through it all, he used that bullying for fuel to excel rather than to shrink.  

After he became a sports celebrity in 2004, an old classmate approached him and introduced himself.  Michael apologized for not recognizing him.  After he left, his Mom asked why he didn’t remember the guy.  Michael’s response went something like this [I’m paraphrasing from memory here.]: “Oh, I remember him.  He was one of the guys who used to make fun of me.  I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of letting him know that I remembered who he was.”

Classic!  On the surface, “The Michael Phelps Story” seems to be a classic David vs. Goliath storyline showcasing his spirit, endurance and hard-earned accomplishments in the face of withering bullies.  Call it what you will, but I can’t help but think of “Revenge of the Nerds” when I hear that story and see those eight gold medals.

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