I Can’t Recommend Giving Back Through Competing Enough

Swim Across America

I love swimming so participating in a Swim Across America event to raise money for cancer research was a natural fit. If you love running, triathlons, marathons, golf, biking, CrossFit or whatever, there is no doubt an event that your sport/organization/training facility runs that is affiliated with a charity.

Do it. Sign up today.

Don’t screw around and talk about signing up or think that it’s lame or wait for friends to do it with you…just go and sign up. Today. You won’t regret it. I promise.

What is there to regret? You already like the activity. Now you’re just going to do it to raise money for a cause you care about or just a good cause in general.

Like I said, for me, Swim Across America made the most sense. I love open water swimming and I like to compete. I, like most people reading this, have loved ones and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer. I, like others as well, just want to be able to do something positive in the fight against it. Combining swimming with that desire was a good fit. I’ve done it two years in a row at Lake Hubbard in Rockwall, Texas. I would love to do one or two more a year at a different location each year to vary my experiences, put some new places in front of my eyeballs and meet some new, inspiring people.

I won’t go into the whole bit about the emotionally charged atmosphere at the beginning of the races, as people stand on stage and give their testimonials about why we swim and who we’re swimming for. Needless to say, tears flow freely and I believe that the water, in many ways, is cathartic – it allows people who have recently lost someone, who are swimming in memory of someone, or who are swimming while a loved one is currently battling the disease to work out some anger, stress, frustration and to come out of the lake with the knowledge that they did something,  anything, to help rid the world of cancer…while also leaving some of those feelings in the water, if but for a brief moment.

I know there are a thousand other ways to donate your time and money to whatever cause you care about. You should do those too…

But what I’m saying is that helping people is good for the collective soul and exercising is good for yours. It’s a one-two punch that really can’t be beat. You’ll feel phenomenal the rest of the day… Even the rest of the week… You achieved something for yourself and for someone you love.

There aren’t many better ways to spend your time: exercising to make your body stronger while raising money to help strengthen the fight against a horrible disease.

So don’t wait. Find your activity. Find your event. Commit to achieving a physical and fund raising goal. Make it happen.

Written by: Jon Finkel

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Jon Finkel is the author of Forces of Character with 3x Super Bowl Champion and Fighter Pilot, Chad Hennings, Heart Over Height with 3x NBA Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson, as well as Jocks In Chief, The Dadvantage – Stay in Shape on No Sleep with No Time and No Equipment, and all twelve volumes in the Greatest Stars of the NBA book series for the National Basketball Association, which won several ALA Young Reader Awards.

As a feature writer, he has written for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, GQ, Details, The New York Times, AskMen.com, ComedyCentral.com, Yahoo! Sports’ ThePostGame.com and many more. His work received a notable mention in the 2015 Best American Sports Writing anthology. He has appeared on CBS: This Morning promoting his books.


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