What kind of influence are you having on those around you?

How powerful is your legacy?

Today I was reunited with Tim Budic. I had only met him in person three times before in my life. However, his “legend” as a cross country record holder and leader has been a part of my life every day since 1998. The power of his influence was able to extend to me through my mentor and his mentee, Don Bosley.

The Legend Slayer and The Mentee
The Legend Slayer and The Mentee

Chapter 1 – “The Legend”

This story truly begins with Tom Henderson. He’s my dad’s cousin and ran for North High School. For years he held the distance running records. His legacy was so strong at North High that the Ranger Nation began calling him, “The Legend.”

After graduating from college, The Legend, eventually returned to North High to teach and coach. Throughout the years he experienced a lot of success and it added to his mystic. The next chapter starts as the Legend finds some “Luck.”

The Legend
The Legend

Chapter 2 – “The Luck”

An All-American in Steeplechase, Matt Luck joined the North High coaching staff. He carried on the tradition of pushing the Rangers to new heights and elevated expectations with all those around him.

The Legend and The Luck found themselves coaching the man who would finally break the Legends record. He was a young man from the streets of Surfside, Ohio, Tim Budic.

Chapter 3 – “The Legend Slayer”

The longer a legend continues the larger it gets. Some people begin to become larger than life in the minds of others. However, The Legend Slayer worked harder than most and found himself becoming an experienced and seasoned leader.

During his speech with our team today he said something that opened my eyes to the sport of distance running. First, it’s not a sport. As he put it, “…it is a lifestyle. It is how you carry yourself all year long.”

Lastly, he stated, “Running is a science, but RACING is an art.” He gained an immense amount of experience, toughness, and leadership because of the work he put in and the trust The Legend and The Luck had in him come race day. He embodied the character and work ethic needed to finally break the school record held by The Legend. His senior year he ran a 4:20 mile. Long live The Legend Slayer!!

The Legend Slayer sharing his story with the Future Legends
The Legend Slayer sharing his story with the Future Legends

Chapter 4 – The Boz

My first memory of “The Boz” was when he flew by me on the track when I was in middle school. The high school team at South High was finishing their workout and although I was beginning to win races as an 8th grader The Boz ran past me like I was standing still. Along with his speed he had the coolest sideburns I’d ever seen! He was fast AND had facial hair. What a beast!!

What I didn’t know at the time was The Legend Slayer and The Boz had developed a friendly rivalry. Although they competed for rival schools that hated each other they realized that the bigger picture was about growing and improving. It was the legendary mentorship that would change my life forever.

The Boz and The Mentee
The Boz and The Mentee

Chapter 5 – The Mentee

By the time I was a freshman at South The Boz was a Junior. The Legend Slayer had graduated high school and taken his talents to run in college. Despite this he continued to have a huge influence on me. I remember The Boz, The Luck, and The Legend talking about this “Budic” guy. How he worked hard and achieved success. Also how The Boz was experiencing the same results.

So there I was, The Mentee. Watching Boz crush the competition in practice and races made me want to do the same. Unfortunately, as a freshman I didn’t train in the off season. I had very disappointing results. However, that following summer The Luck and The Boz took me under their wings and taught me what it took to be successful.

Chapter 6 – The Hall of Fame

In August of 2015 both The Boz and The Mentee were inducted into the South High Hall of Fame. Alongside The Luck we all reflected on the “Good ‘Ol Days.” However, the reality was that the “good days” were still here and still to come. What we had learned and lived as runners and racers had carried over into our career and business worlds. The same discipline and sacrifice we needed to succeed in high school was still what we needed to succeed in the “big kid world.”

The Mentee, The Luck, and The Boz
The Mentee, The Luck, and The Boz

Summary – Live like a Legend

In closing, I realize now that my success began long before I even laced up a pair of running shoes and hit the cross country course. Thanks to the legacy left by The Legend Slayer I was able to discover that I was capable of so much more in life.

My fellow leaders, what legend have you been benefiting from? Who do you owe a “Thank You” to for your success?

My challenge to you is twofold…

1. Reach out and thank the Legends that have come before you and paved the way for you to have the opportunity to succeed.

2. Reflect on who you’ve been influencing and evaluate whether the legend you’re leaving is the legacy you want to leave behind.

We are effecting so many more lives than our own my friends. Make it count!

Enjoy the day!

— James R. Schleicher