Gino's Blog

The Greatest Tribute

There’s no greater education than learning from tough people.

Toughness is an abstract concept with limitless interpretations that continuously water down the true meaning of toughness. Society routinely lowers the bar about what true toughness actually is. Toughness is one of the most misused and abused words in the English language.

I’ve been blessed to have worked with, coached, and competed against very tough people. But the toughest person I’ve ever met was born on this date 99 years ago today. If you Google “Antonio Arcaro November 15, 1913,” no hits will come up. Antonio Arcaro, born November 15, 1913, is not a household name. He’s not a celebrity. I’m not sure if he could even read or write. But, he knew how to make an impact. But, the problem with any big impact is that you don’t fully understand it at the moment it’s made because the impact has to spread out first. You can’t fully measure an impact until it’s had time to reach where it’s supposed to reach.

I’ve never met in person anyone who endured a struggle like his. When I first heard it described, I thought it was normal. I thought it was routine. It wasn’t. It’s one-of-a-kind. I’m embarrassed to use ‘struggle’ to describe anything I’ve faced because mine and his are worlds apart. His adversity and my adversity don’t come from the same language.

I struggle to find a proper tribute to those who have made a big impact in my life. Words, after all, are just words. Words are the starting point of a proper tribute but they don’t have the full effect as honouring the person’s struggle and sacrifices by not wasting them. Making something out of their struggles and sacrifices is the biggest tribute. Not wasting their struggles and sacrifices is the greatest tribute of all.

The most profound quote I’ve ever heard was a life-changer:

“Don’t ever let anyone take you for a fool.” – Antonio Arcaro, Nov. 15, 1913 – March 5, 1987

Nothing just happens. As children, we don’t get much choice about who teaches us character. We aren’t given a selection. It’s become fashionable to drop the past. Let it go. The self-professed life-coach experts tell us to live in the moment. What a mistake it would be to forget the past. I missed it when it happened, I won’t miss it again. But I miss it horribly.

My struggles are light because your struggles were great. And, don’t worry, you’re not forgotten.