I always give knick names to the boys I coach, especially when they are little. Phillips not Flathead, was kind of a dumb one, but it always made Andrew smile when I said it— so it stuck. He was only 6 when I gave it to him, and he probably had no idea what it meant, but for him it was something special between he and his coach. Phillips struggled all year with learning his circles on the mushroom, but then at the state championship, magically they appeared. I remember I was so happy, I didn’t even give him a chance to salute the judge, but ran over and picked him up hugging him like a rag doll. His smile didn’t disappear for weeks.

I’ve had the honor of being able to stay in the home of the Phillips family for the last two nights. The honor is compounded by the fact that they weren’t even here to join me, but rather trusted me enough to leave the place open and at my disposal in their absence. While, I coached their son I rarely needed to save his life, but I think that the fact that I had his safety at the forefront of my mind ingratiated them to me. With no thought to their convenience, they offered me their home for as many days as I needed, and gave me carte blanche on the food, laundry, and other amenities their home could provide this weary traveler.

It seems like a dream now, I’m am only two days (universe willing) from San Francisco. The last 2.5 months have gone by in a flash, and yet, it seems like years ago when I left on August 15th. Coming back again to SF marks a major milestone. It is cyclical in nature to return to your origin, but it also marks a defeat of the doubts of other and those that I myself harbored regarding this path. There were many who felt I would surely succumb, starve, or be mugged. Now more than ever though this return to one’s origin marks not only a reckoning moment in my own life and that of my pilgrimage, but also in the minds and hearts of all those in San Francisco that see me now return.

My only hope is that all that I may greet and see will feel more empowered to do what they, and only they can do for peace, love, art, and compassion in their daily lives.

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