I loved my tennis lessons with Adolph when I was a child. He was strict and serious, but loving and playful at the same time and I knew he deeply cared.
I didn’t dare ask him why his name was Adolph. I though it would be disrespectful, but I still found it odd.
Last week I finally learned why during a conversation I had at his sports store in Newton Center.
One night when Adolph was 6, the Nazi’s banged down the door and seized his parents. That was the last time he ever saw them. All he had left from them was his name: Adolph.
He grew up in orphanages and reformatory schools in Poland so he never received a formal education, but you wouldn’t know that by his tremendous knowledge on just about everything.
At the age of 15, he became an apprentice for 3 years for a baker because that was the only place he could find housing. The baker needed him to get up to bake and deliver at 4am so he needed an apprentice to live with him. One day while delivering, Adolph passed tennis courts. He had never seen them before, but he can still feel the “barbed wire going into my fingers” as he pushed down the wire in awe to observe “rich” people play tennis.
He moved to NYC in his early 20s and started playing tennis at a camp for immigrants. Soon he was asked to be the pro and eventually became the top pro at prestigious clubs in MA.
So why did I say that he pays it forward? Well last week when I was in his shop, I saw a couple polo shirts that were monogrammed “San Quentin Tennis Coach.” Besides them were a bunch of t-shirts marked “San Quentin Tennis Team.”
Adolph explained to me he had seen on the news a story about a 76 year old man who wanted to turn the devestatingly brutality in San Quentin into a more joyous place. San Quentin, as you probably know, is like the Alcatraz of California. Where there was once a place of bloodshed, is now an area of tennis courts.
Adolph was so inspired by this 76 year old man that he called him and told him that he was send him team t-shirts and tennis rackets and balls.
“You see, Lauri,” he leaned over the counter and looked right into my eye, “Those men are people, too, and that tennis coach is like the male Mother Theresa. He accepts them for their humanity.”
Of course we need to be punished for our mistakes, but hopefully we can also repent for them and move forward. Even when we’re sitting in a jail cell in San Quentin doing a life sentence, we can still repent and contribute in a positive way to society.
So many of us live as prisoners to our past. We over eat, drink and medicate to escape the pain, but it will always be there until we face it head on.
So how does all of this tie into cleansing? Because it forces us to take a step back and become more mindful of what we eat – and what we really need to eat to sustain us – not what we think we need.
Take your first step to freeing yourself from your past with a JOOS Reboot Cleanse. Who knows? It just may be the start of your path to losing weight and feeling balanced and invigorated for the rest of your life.