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"Finding Dick Butkus"
My story of SelfSelf realization is the purpose of life. To know yourself and know your enemy - you will win 100 of 100 battles. Sun Tzu
My journey began on a football practice field in 1970. I was so excited about football that I needed a hero that I could aspire to. Dick Butkus showed up in my dreams for the first time at age 13. His image created a huge fire in me to express myself - I found it in my art & I excelled.
Later in my teens I lost my way as the football dreams faded so did my passion for my art. Like many ambitious young men I set out seek my fortune finding relative success as Karate teacher, businessman and builder. I found art in various ways designing plans, commercial layouts creating short films but never again on canvas or a sketch pad.
Through my 20's, 30's and early forties I raised a family, developed many skills and always had one eye on the NFL, rooting for the Chicago Bears. Whenever the TV would mention #51, I would enjoy every word - then telling my kids - yes, Dick Butkus was the best, my boyhood hero.
After 30 yrs of various training, in 2002 I turned to Hot Yoga to heal many old injuries and maintain my health. After attending a rigorous 9 week , 16hr a day teacher's course with Bikram Choudhury I felt renewed and open to new ideas but looking for purpose.
I found my self asking the question:
What do I want to do, what am I interested in?
The answer came quickly... once again,   Dick Butkus.
I began to seek out and collect old magazines, films and on a whim I began to sketch and put my interest on canvas again just like I had as a teenager. The art flowed, the dormant skill and passion was like nothing I had felt before. After 2 yrs of developing the work I decided I needed to fulfill a life time dream.
I would find and meet Dick Butkus.
I traveled to Chicago to a sports show where he was scheduled to be, unfortunately he had to withdraw. Undeterred I sent packages to the NFL Bears, HOF, various addresses and finally to his lawyer - all with out result.
I was ready to give up, when on a Friday morning the phone rang. The caller stated " Mr. Butkus likes your work - send more samples". A month later I was on my way to LA and Dick Butkus when again fate stepped in to test my resolve, as a family issue cancelled the met.
When one door closes another opens*
I traveled to Pittsburgh to a film set where on Sept. 19, 2005 I finally met Dick Butkus. For me 40 yrs turned into a surreal moment as we discussed the work, it's possibilities. He graciously signed a few of my favorite pieces.
Now I realize that by seeking Dick Butkus I had found myself and again my life's passion for art. I never expected that a boy's day dreams would become so important to a man's life. Coming full circle as the artist within found it's voice again by celebrating the youthful imagery of the old hero.
Follow your dreams - You'll be amazed where they may take you.
More at http://www.findingyourbutkus.com
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