Turning Adversity Around (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Last month when I wrote about my injury, I made the statement that it’s not my place to ask why it happened, but what could I gain from the experience. After riding out of the arena at Kansas City, back at the trailer, it all hit me. Not only would I not qualify for the NFR, I nearly tore my arm off my body. I couldn’t move my right arm and there are very few things worse for a roper. Rather than crying, like I felt like doing, I realized it was a pivotal time in my life and thought, “Lord, thank you for this. When I can’t make sense of something, I know it’s because you have a bigger plan in store for me, so thank you.”

Many people might have trouble understanding my faith and outlook. But now, thirty days later, let me tell you about the last month.

In Las Vegas Jennifer and I had the opportunity to meet Paula White who has one of the largest television ministries in the world. We felt an immediate connection and Paula and I both agree our meeting was a divine appointment. Paula said she felt it was her place to introduce me to her personal trainer, Dodd Romero.

His clients include Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, Steve Nash, Denzel Washington, Lenny Kravitz, Nicole Kidman and Paula White – period. The only way he accepts new clients is if he feels it’s by divine appointment. After spending two days with Dodd so he could review my medical records, he hugged and kissed me and said he felt like we were brothers. He’s excited to have the opportunity to deal with someone who rodeo’s.

I’ve never met anyone like Dodd before. He’s close to six feet tall and weighs 245 pounds with less than three percent body fat. It’s given me a glimpse of what professional athletes experience with their trainers. He is like a highly tuned racecar.

Dodd has told me to take a month to let my mind and body relax and heal. Afterwards I’ll probably make a temporary home in Florida, where he lives. He’s not just a personal trainer – he leaves absolutely nothing to chance. He will either cook my meals or have them prepared to his specifications, regulate my sleep, and has two or three doctors he works with on a regular basis. His training takes control of every situation.

I don’t know how long it will take me to become physically competitive and neither does he. His answer is, “We’ll see what your body says. Your body will talk to me and tell me exactly how it’s doing.”

This is the opportunity and bigger plan I was talking about. At the age of thirty-six I felt I had peaked physically. Now I have an excellent chance to get in the best shape of my life. Had this opportunity arisen while I was rodeoing hard, more than likely I wouldn’t have seen the bigger picture or felt like I had the time to make life altering changes.

What appeared as a totally devastating blow in Kansas City has become the opportunity of a lifetime. But then again, I knew that when it happened.