I must apologize to those who have actually consistently viewed and read the things I have written over the years here at ConnorsArmy.BlogSpot.com. From my dashboard I see I have well over 51,000 views. Of course many of those are people just looking up photos of things, but maybe some of them stop to read and to all of you I say thank you. I know I haven't posted anything since last January and for that I'm deeply sorry. It has been a rough road of trying to find myself since that August day in 2012 when my family and I entered the grounds of Sunrise DayCamp.
The trip for us to ride across the country and raise money for the kids of Sunrise was one of the most important and amazing things I have ever done in my life and I would do it again if I could (and if my wife wouldn't decide to leave me as she would be certain I had lost my mind). To see the country from three feet up every single mile of the 3,000+ miles was an incredible experience and to share that with my family was a wonderful blessing.
But who am I anyway (Am I my resume? For all you Chorus Line fans)? What am I now since I began the journey of what started as Connor's Army 10 years ago? I am 53 years old, the father of three teenagers and the husband to a wonderful and amazing woman. I am a teacher of theatre (sometimes life?) at Syosset High School. I am an EMT for the Northport Fire Department. I am a Unit Head (or at least I was this summer) at Sunrise Day Camp for the Teen Tracks program. And after all this time, I'm still an avid cyclist - despite my many bump, bruises, aches and pains.
Ten years ago I was 43, still the father of three amazing children and husband to an incredible woman. I was still performing when I could, directing and choreographing anywhere that would hire me while entering my tenth year as a teacher at Syosset High School. I had recently rediscovered my passion for riding (a passion that began at the ripe old age of six) and I was searching for a way to use that passion to make a difference in the fight against cancer. My mother and three of my sisters had recently fought (and won) their battles with cancer and I wanted to find a way to give back out of gratitude for their health. And so Connor's Army was born as a way to create a not-for-profit to raise money for cancer research and to find ways to help the cancer community. It has been an amazing ten years with more than 30,000 miles having passed beneath my wheels (I actually added it up).
But here we are in 2016 and while I still believe in using the power of two wheels to make a difference, big cycling challenges are no longer my focus (although the boys and I still periodically talk about taking a long bike tour when they graduate from college). Instead, I've been focusing on smaller events such as The Great Cycle Challenge, events that just need me on my bike to make a personal difference. Even my ReCycle for Sunrise has begun to wind down as I find I just don't have the time to continue with that offshoot of Connor's Army any longer. Between no longer having the space to store all of those bikes in need of TLC, I just don't have the time to devote to them any longer. So I will sadly be putting Connor's Army on hold for now, ready to come back when it's needed (sort of like the mythical Arthur), but for now, decommissioned as it were.
It's said that when he finally stepped away from being our country's first (I know, I know - you history buffs will say he wasn't actually the FIRST) president, George Washington was delighted to be leaving public office. He was 65 years old and anxious to spend the remainder of his life away from the stress and responsibilities of the presidency (he believed he was near the end of his life; few people at that time lived past their mid-sixties). He gave his Farewell Address, a 32-page hand written text - tell that to your teenager when they complain about a five-page research paper. (Just a side note, I gleaned that tidbit from my currently reading material, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.)
I can't say that I am delighted to be stepping away from Connor's Army but I think for now it is the best thing. I can no longer devote the time and energy I need to devote to it as a not-for-profit entity and I need to spend more time just riding and when occasion arises doing so to still raise money for the cancer community. I will also still use the power of two wheels to help others as I serve as the Bike Squad Coordinator for the Northport Fire Department Rescue Squad. Hopefully by being there on my bike I can still make a difference for my immediate community. I'll also continue to go to Sunrise every summer and try to make a difference there. But most importantly, I'm going to continue to ride because I don't know what else to do.
For all of you who donated, followed this blog, liked our Facebook posts, came out to watch or ride with us, and just helped us create and sustain Connor's Army for so long, I thank you all for being part of the ride these last ten years (and giving me over 51,000 views). There are not enough words to express all of my gratitude and so for now I'll simply say,
So long and I'll see you on the road!