The Giving Perspective
By Chris Kessler
One of my greatest weaknesses is my hatred of bad weather. Rain, snow, sleet, and cold are none of my favorite things. It can definitely affect my willingness to train. However, I have the privilege of going to a school that has a gymnastics gym. While I definitely miss the outdoor world, I am certainly thankful to get out of the driving wind and snow to train in a nice, warm environment.
Over the past two months, Iâ€™ve been going through some personal turmoil and have been able to push against that with parkour. I go to the gymnastics room close to three times a week to drill movements over and over. My goal is to be able to throw front flips and side flips outside by spring. Speaking of side flips, I was finally able to grasp the movement in the gym. It took me a few months of throwing myself around before I got a handle on how to move sideways and over my head. Iâ€™ve been really noticing how perseverance and never giving up can really pay off. While I am still plagued by pain from my back injury a few months ago, I am not letting that stop me from pursuing progression.
One of the events that I am most proud of is Virginia Tech Parkourâ€™s fundraiser for Haiti, â€œBackflips for Bucks.â€ On two brisk February evenings, the veteran members of VTPK broke out their warm underwear and did their part to help Haiti; mind you the temperature did not get above freezing! We set up a table in the busiest thoroughfare on campus and began reeling in potential donations. I am always in awe of my friendsâ€™ confidence in their movement, especially flips on concrete. I myself am not confident enough yet to do flips outside, but that did not hinder our progress at all. With Jarvis, Remo, Leon, Hai, and Chase all out there doing their best, I could focus on being loud and getting peopleâ€™s attention. I used to be a shy and timid person that kept to myself. However, after coming to this school and becoming a member of this community, Iâ€™ve just let loose of that hindrance. Not to mention that it helped us raise $341 in support for Haiti in just two days.
Keeping with the giving trend, Leon Mederos, Tribe member at large on campus, had the excellent idea of holding a beginnerâ€™s seminar to benefit Haiti at $10 dollars a person. Unfortunately due to crazy weather and scheduling difficulties, we werenâ€™t able to market this as much, garnering only seven beginners to come out. One such beginner was VTPKâ€™s great friend, Chris Seaton from Tennessee (currently in law school in Virginia). He came to us not only from hours away, but also with a $100 dollar donation from his community in hand! All in all, the seminar brought us $160, bringing our total to $501 in all for Haiti!
Before this experience, I had never done any charity work, nor had I done any kind of service for those in need, short of random donations throughout my life. However, I really felt that I was doing something good for people who will never know me and who I will never meet. I have taken so much for granted: My school, my family, my friends, my shoes, clothes, even the internet. It makes me upset to think that it takes terrible things to happen before we start appreciating things, but regardless of that fact, I am going to start loving everything in my life. I spent hours in the freezing cold, flagging down other poor college students and begging them for a donation for strangers. But, weâ€™re all humans. What little I have here can go a long way in other places to people with less. If we deny our brothers and sisters in this world aid, then why should we get anything when weâ€™re in need? I know that from now on, if someone asks me for a simple five dollar donation, I will be happy to oblige.