The name of this blog is Weakness is a crime for many reasons. It is not just about weakness of the body, but also weakness of the spirit, of the mind and of will. It is about teaching you to be stronger in all of these areas and about how to make your life better. I am writing now in great sadness because one of the strongest people that I have ever met has just left this world, Mr. Richard Angelo.
|Rich, Cheryl and my son the day he was born|
Many of you know Rich, he was the owner of Rich Angelo’s Karate Academy on Ferry Street in Everett, and then on lower Broadway for over 20 years. Rich was instrumental in teaching many of the area’s children and adults on how to be stronger in body, mind and spirit through martial arts and strength training. Rich was also a mentor, father figure, like a brother and a best friend to me for most of my life.
|Rich WINNING the 2002 Mass State Strongman Contest|
I learned many lessons from Rich in the time that we had together. Rich was my first boxing/kickboxing coach, and the best one that I ever had. He taught me how to fight and not let the punches and kicks an opponent threw at me affect my will to win (not only in the gym but in life). He taught me the value of achieving what you want in life through dedication and hard work. He, along with my grandfather and Uncles, instilled the value of integrity. He taught me that it is not what you say to people, but how you say it. He taught me how to be a great coach. He taught me to never stop learning. He taught me the value of family, even more than my own family did. I could go on for days about the lessons I learned from this great man.
I got the news of Rich’s passing from his beloved wife Cheryl this past Saturday just hours after he passed while competing in an Ironman (like a triathlon) as I was attending a bench press seminar. A friend was sent down to the gym to have me get a hold of Cheryl. I was applying one of Rich’s lessons; never stop learning, when I got the news.
I spoke with Rich just a few days before he left to compete and we talked about many things, including how he was in the best shape of his life and how I was going to return to weight lifting competition in October. I wished him the best and we made plans to have lunch when he got back. After I got the news of his passing a lot of things went through my mind, and one thing stood out more than anything, besides horrendous grief; I owed Rich a debt that could never be repaid and that he was one of the most important people in my life, and he was now gone.
A true sign of strength is letting people in your life know how valuable they are to you while they are still here. I was and still am very sad at Rich’s passing, but I feel good about one thing. I let him know how important he was to me while he was still alive. Of course he knew it, but the fact that I told him left me with no regrets. A while ago, it was the anniversary of my grandfather’s death, and my son asked me why I was so sad that day. I explained to him that it was a special day and the reason why I was sad is that I miss him every day and that I never told him exactly what he meant to me while he was alive. A few days after this, Rich and I were talking and I took the time to tell him exactly what he meant to me and how grateful that I was to him for all that he did for me in my life. I told him that when my grandfather passed I never told him these things and I didn’t want to wait until it was too late to let him know the same things.
I’d like to leave you all with a few things that you can take away from my experience with Rich:
-never stop learning
-treat people well
-act with integrity
-keep your body and your spirit strong
-never, ever quit, no matter what at whatever you are doing
-be better today than you were yesterday.
If you try and do even one of these things, you will be stronger for it. Tell someone important to you TODAY what they mean to you. You will be stronger for it.
Rest in peace Rich. We will all miss you.