I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous before.
It was a constant state of nerves. I had thrown up each morning for the past three days, and had been unable to eat anything not because I was sick, but rather because I was nervous.
And now, it came down to this moment.
I stood backstage.
And then, Eddie Chen read the results.
I couldn’t believe it. I knew in that moment my life had forever changed.
It was April 13, 1997, and I was just announced as the Governor for the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of Key Club International.
Less than one hour later, I’d preside over my first board meeting. Within 24 hours I’d get my flight itinerary for the following weekend (the first of 56 flights I took that year), and instantly, my life path changed.
It was during my time as Governor that I realized I really enjoyed public speaking. It was during this time that I recognized my love of travel. It was during my term where I grew the most as a leader, experiencing incredible success and painful failure. This office opened up new doors for me. It provided an opportunity for a scholarship to pay for college. It connected me with some of my best friends to this day. It changed the way I see the world and our places within it.
And it all began on April 13, 1997.
Or maybe we could trace it back to the fact that I was rejected by most of the girls I was interested in during high school, and since I was single, I had more time to even try for something like running for Governor.
Of course, that could be traced back even further. We could say it began during my freshmen year of high school when my friend Jim Pojda, a junior at the time, not only asked if I’d like to come to the first Key Club meeting, but introduced me to his friends at the meeting and always hung out with me during projects.
Or it could be said that it began when I actually lost the first election for freshmen class president (I won the second semester election), allowing me the chance to spend more time with an organization other than just student council.
Or it could really be traced back to when my first sister was born and I became a “big brother.”
The point being that many events shape who we are and how we interact with our world.
The good and the bad.
It’s many days, many dates, many events, and many people.
I just happen to know one specific date, one specific event, and one specific person reading my name and allowing me the chance to walk this cool path I’ve been walking on ever since.
14 years ago, I heard my name in the Anaheim Convention Center and because of that moment, I’ve had the chance to meet so many of you. Tonight, I’m just taking a moment to pause and reflect.
I hope you do as well.
A quick thank you to the many advisors and friends I who helped during my term: Dick & Alice Huhn, Michelle, Polly, John,Chad, Bruce, Gary, Marshall, Marek, Judith, Robby, Ashlee, Rae, Molly, Katherine, Ross, Wil, David, Jimmy, Emily, Kathy, Sasa, Jim, Phil, Chris, Glenn, Ashley, Melissa, Adam, Jonathan, Lisa, Jill, Cristina, Eddie, Carrie, Kenneth, Bonnie, John, Jo Jo, Martin, Nelson, Reid, Jack, and many, many, many more far too numerous to mention.