A note from Show Me Strength’s Chad Rodgers – Our author in today’s guest post is a true badass. His name is Skip Flanagan, a student athlete at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I first came into contact with Skip through our blog and social media, as he took a liking to our content over the past several months. When I found out we would be training together during my trip into Boston this winter, I knew I had to jump at the chance to get to know him better. Not only did I find out this guy was the real deal from a work ethic standpoint, I came to realize after meeting Skip that he had overcome some adversity in his life as well. See, even though Skip was born without the ability to hear, it was clear he had been busy carving a path of success out for himself by simply out-hustling, out-smarting, and out-training his competitors. Not once did I observe Skip take it easy in the gym. Not once did I see him down on his luck, show fatigue, or just “go thru the motions,” as most athletes do this day and age. Skip is the epitome of a Show Me Strength athlete, and we are extremely proud to have him on here to share a little more about himself. My favorite quote from him this winter came after my training partner and I battled through a session of punishing trap bar deadlifts. He walked over with that shit eaten grin and said to the both of us…..
” You guys are crushing it. I’m deaf and I could still hear the intensity from across the gym!”
That got us so fired up. We ended up having one of the best lifts ever that day.
Without further ado….Mr. Skip Flanagan!
Turning a Deaf Ear to the Naysayers
“Can deaf people drive?”
I laugh about it every time someone asks me this question (which is asked actually pretty often), and I just answer with a chuckle and a simple nod. My name is Skip Flanagan, I’m deaf and yes, I drive.
Growing up, when my parents tried to sign me up for recreational sports in my hometown, they had to notify the city that I was deaf. Guess what? They turned me down just because of that. So my parents put me in a different town’s league and had me playing sports early on. Some people look at my deafness as a “disability”, and I don’t even look at it as a handicap. I actually like to look at it as an advantage, and it gives me the ability to shut off the naysayers.
I managed to play varsity high school baseball, and I realized that I wanted to play at the next level. I wanted to play college ball. I wanted to measure my skills at a college showcase so I went to one my freshman year of high school. I thought I did well, until I got the scouting report/feedback letter from the college coach who ran the showcase. In the report, it said that I was small, couldn’t run at all, barely could break glass off the mound, couldn’t hit, and couldn’t pitch at the next level. A piece of paper crushed me.
“Can you drive?”
I think about how I’m like a car. My mind is the driver, and the car is my body. I could just hop in the car and keep plugging along on the right side of the highway with people who don’t give a crap. I could just be mediocre and let that damned piece of paper ruin my dreams. I could just go drive off the road or take the wrong exit. Or I could go to the shop (the weight room) and totally pimp the car up. Get jacked. Work on my game. Hit the cages, throw my bullpens, and take some grounders. Then…… get on the highway and fly in the fast lane.
I ended up improving all aspects of my game, and put together a respectable high school career. I drove in the fast lane up to Rochester Institute of Technology.
While I’m still a long way from where I want to be, I want to give you all some advice. When someone gives you shit, just go deaf. Just shut your ears off and laugh them off. You only need to listen to yourself. Listen to what you think is the best thing to do in order to improve yourself. Whether it could be getting extra help on your stats homework or eating better, you just have to shut out all the junk surrounding you. Be deaf, and drive yourself in the fast lane to success.
“Can you drive?”
I just laugh and nod.
Embrace. Fight. Prevail.