Never Give Up!


Tank’s uncle’s ATV, complete with an oxygen tank strapped to it.

“Never give up” is a phrase we learn early in life. If you didn’t, you should have, because it is the essence of a successful life. Even more important, it brings peace and satisfaction knowing we gave it our all in every task we perform, no matter the outcome. And when giving it your all, you’re usually successful. If not, you’ll learn from your failure, readjustment, improvise, dust yourself off and go at it again. This tenacity is the lifeblood to success.

When we’re younger, we do everything we can to be the best we can be. We’re sponges, soaking in every bit of knowledge possible, working hard to achieve our goals. As the journey continues, we keep trying to improve. Eventually, we reach a plateau, and finally, a decline as we get older. No matter how we fight it, it is inevitable. This is merely the cycle of life. It’s why man has always strived to find the mystic fountain of youth, if only there were such a thing …

Athletes, or those who worked hard physically, notice this phenomenon sooner than most. It happens because their bodies simply wear out. The same back-breaking work that built you up, making you strong, now has the opposite effect. Aches, pains, arthritis and other maladies rear their ugly head in ways you never thought possible. Aging is undoubtedly not for sissies, but you must never give up to keep enjoying life.

One of my favorite motivational posters I ever saw showed an older man wading a stream, fly rod in hand, using a walker. Sure, he may not get around as well as he used to, but he was out there enjoying life as best he could, all because he “never gave up.”

Here’s Tank, seven months after double total knee replacement, in Idaho, on a bear hunt.


I just returned from my yearly deer hunt on my cousin’s farm in Pennsylvania. As time goes on, the hills have gotten steeper, the tree stands farther and the weather colder. While I can still sit all day in a stand, unfolding my body afterward tells the ugly truth of stiffness and lameness. Riding a police motorcycle my last 18 of 27 years didn’t help things. I was warned of the effects, laughing them off, “Not me!”

Years of football, wrestling, rugby, weightlifting, running and riding wore my knees out, needing double total knee replacement (TKR) at retirement nine years ago. But I planned my surgeries. The first was done in June; the second knee was completed in August so that I could hunt in November. And I did. Never give up!

The epitome of this philosophy struck me as I was leaving my uncle’s house to head home. His ATV was parked out front. My uncle is on oxygen from a lifetime of farming and being exposed to dirt, dust, pesticides and fertilizer while riding a tractor. But he is a tough ol’ buzzard and hunting is his favorite pastime.

Looking at his ATV, you see a portable oxygen tank strapped to his vehicle to keep him mobile. No sitting at home for him! He’ll sit all day in his stand and ride the mile or two back home at the end of the day. He surely will never give up!

Other Applications

This “never give up” attitude also has other applications, such as self-defense. The first rule to self-defense is avoidance. However, if you find yourself in an unavoidable situation, you better have the mindset of “never giving up,” especially if you’re armed.

As a police officer, there’s at least one gun in every confrontation, yours. Know how to use it when its use is applicable. You’d be surprised how many people aren’t sure, making them hesitate. Get professional training! Combined with the proper attitude, your survival odds will go up immensely!

Don’t hesitate if deadly force is your only option. Things can turn for the worse very quickly. Pound it in your head; never give up! It will lead you to a successful life and, it just may save your life. Live your life as fully as you can, each and every day. Push yourself. You’ll appreciate life more, be a happier person and sleep better.
Never … give … up!

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