Night out with the Judge

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those nights that made me realize I can be awesome for as long as I want to be. I discovered that Awesomeness doesn’t have an age limit. This was proven to me by a fifty something year old man who took on one of the most adventurous, exciting, and challenging things I have ever done.

It was Friday, July 25th and I was leaving the office around 5:15. I had one important stop to make before the night of fun was to begin –Wal-Mart, of course. My roommate’s Xbox 360 had broken the week before and this night required one. Wal-Mart had the Xbox 360 Premium configuration for $299.99. Totally worth it I said as I made the purchase with no buyer’s remorse.

I made it to my house by about 5:55. Good, five solid minutes before my guests would arrive. That gave me plenty of time to take a shower, setup the Xbox, pack my bags for part two of the night, and order pizza. One of the guests arriving was to be our guest of honor (we actually considered calling him “your honor” all night). He was a local Fayette County Judge who worked with two of my friends – Michelle and Ben. My guests showed up (punctual as always at 6:15) and we rocked it out for a solid two hours playing Rock Band. It took me about 3.4 seconds to realize that all the awesome things Michelle and Ben had to say about the judge were absolutely true. He was fun, laid back, had jokes, and was 100% comfortable with screaming at the top of his lungs into the microphone the lyrics of Boston’s Foreplay-Long Time. He was also really solid on the lead guitar.
judge - rockband1
judge - rockband2

After rocking and rolling at my house we were ready for the real adventure to begin. The plan was to go spelunking through some caves nearby that I had discovered from a friend who grew up here (insert recognition and appreciation to Matt Hogg and Luke Murray for showing me). It was about a 45 minute drive plus a 5 to 30 minute hike to the caves. The discrepancy in the time of the hike is based on how adventurousjudge-injury you are feeling. We were feeling extra adventurous so we hiked for a good 35 minutes. During the hike, the Judge got into a battle with a tree limb which drew blood on his forehead (see picture to right). He was fine though. He said, “take a picture and let’s keep going”. We arrived at the cave entrance past dark. Armed with our headlights, our good spirits and a Sony camera that had a 51% survival expectancy we were prepared to take on the caves. I’m not going to do justice in describing these caves because it is something that you have to experience first hand to truly appreciate. Anyways, here are a few details. About 50% of the cave is full of water, at times above your waist. Portions of the cave involve crawling and climbing through muddy tight gaps. Certain parts of the cave require you to pull out your famous Paul Hamm front tuck double twisting double layout gymnastic maneuver. At the pinnacle of the cave you are literally crawling/swimming through cold water in a space that appears to be closing in on you to the point where you worry you may not have air to breathe anymore. As I said, I can’t do it justice, but understand that there are guys my age that I would not dare take through these caves because I don’t think they could handle the intensity, fear and overall hardcore-ness of the experience. The judge conquered the caves with a smile. I am always impressed with anyone who can make it through these caves, but I was more than impressed with the Judge that night. Driving home I couldn’t stop thinking that I better be that cool when I get older.

Caving pic 1 Caving pic 2

Caving pic 3 Caving pic 4 - post game

At the end of the night we got into a discussion about his successes and how he arrived at such an accomplished point in his life. He simply responded with, “Brian, I’m not different than anyone else. I just took a chance where others didn’t”. And just like that, the flame representing my passion to be an entrepreneur and take on the world sparked up exponentially. “Thanks Judge”, I said to myself as we said our goodbyes and I went to shake his hand. He brushed my hand away and gave me a hug. He told me thanks for a great night…without a clue that he had just positively influenced me and the rest of the group in a way that dwarfs any sort of “great night” we could have possibly offered him.