Growing up, I always wanted to win the Shane Willard award.
For full effect, download “Good Question” by Wayne Gratz, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
When I was nine years old, the Willard family moved in next door. Honestly, they are some of the most generous, most good-natured, most forgiving people that I have ever had the privilege of meeting while on this great Earth. And if you think growing up that you had better next-door neighbors, well you’re wrong. And I will punch you square in the kidneys for making such a false assertion. The Willards are pure next-door neighbor gold I tell you.
I looked up to all of them. From the parents, Tim and Laura, to all of their children, every one of them were incredible people to me. But I most admired their oldest son Shane, who in my opinion was the cookie-cutter model of what a young man should try and be like.
As an eleven-year old such as myself saw it, Shane Willard had everything going for him. He was athletic, good-looking, very spiritual, funny, charismatic, all the ladies loved him, including every one of my older sisters. For being six years older than me, he was who I looked up to as a role model, somebody who I wanted to try and strive to become. It was because of him that I came up with the Shane Willard award.
12-year old Colby Davis: “What’s the Shane Willard award?”
11-year old me: “It’s this award that I’m going to subconsciously bestow upon someone who I think almost lives up to the awesomeness that Shane Willard has. If I think that there’s a man that comes close to how incredible that he is, I’ll mentally give that person the Shane Willard award.”
12-year old Colby Davis: “Hmm… So why are we best friends again?”
11-year old me: “Good question.”
Since then I have come in contact with some very chiseled, very honorable men, and I have looked up to and admired them for being who they are. Not just when everyone was watching them, more importantly when everyone wasn’t. Over the years the list has been compiled and added on to whenever I thought I found those incredible, respectable guys. I’m talking about legends such as Dan Hoover, Nathan Plowman, Casey Chipp, Clinton Merrill, Nate Thompson, Tyler Albright, all of them are heroes I tell you, despite the fact that they may all be from the borough of Roy.
Keep in mind that this is just a subliminal award that I made up to recognize the young men that I admired; there is no plaque, or trophy, or certificate to be handed out to these fellows to formally acknowledge their greatness. But that’s the thing, they don’t need any kind of physical recognition whatsoever. Their humility would put any kind of crown in the backseat just so they could serve the people surrounding them. They are all that amazing.
A couple of days ago I was minding my own business in line at Zupas eagerly waiting the moment where I would be shoveling a BBQ pulled pork sandwich down my throat followed by a chaser of Lobster Bisque when out of the blue, a familiar voice called out from behind me. Turning around I saw the man who I had admired for all these years, the man who I had theorized an exemplary fictional award for, THE Shane Willard.
We talked and caught up for a few minutes before I had to get back to work, and as I listened, I knew that he was still the same great man. The same athletic, good-looking, very spiritual, funny, charismatic guy who is now adored by a beautiful wife and kids. Walking out the door into the cold northern Utah weather, a little self-check button went off in my mind as I evaluated where I’m at in my life now, and where I am headed. As I stared into my rearview mirror the one thing I asked myself was if I ever was, or will be deserving enough to be a recipient of the Shane Willard award.