Sports Gave My Life Purpose & Spiritual Meaning

Sports Gave My Life Purpose & Spiritual Meaning.
Today you will hear about a young man who was a loner in his youth, that grew up in poverty; but found his purpose in life through sports (via the 400 meter races his sophomore year in high school). Keith Hoang was not a good student, back in his early formative years in school, because he had no interest to be; plus the mounting problems at home.
The growing family that Keith was a member of struggled financially, and at times things got a little crazy; that caused them to split up as a family. Keith later found himself living with other relatives, away from his parents and other siblings. By Keith being young at the time, he probably had no real understanding, why this had to be done, but he made the best out of this situation; until they came together again as a family. Keith started to have some aspirations, about doing better in life, when he gets older. This first started to show by him joining his high school’s track team, at South Torrence HS his sophomore year.
This was a new adventure for Keith, who liked being alone, but being a member of his high school track team; gave him a chance to really open up. The experience did not come easy, when he realized he was not very good. He learned a big lesson in humility, by never placing in the top three position in any races; that particular track season. Guys he once helped on the track team, were all doing better than he was; so Keith started to question this new found freedom. Keith spent a lot of his time, in the rear in most of his races; or just flat out dead last. Keith was no quitter, and took the encouragement from his teammates & track coach to heart; he constantly pushed himself.
At the end of the season track team’s award banquet, Keith could see his teammates being showered with praises & awards; that they clearly had deserved. He was shocked to hear his named call for the “Most Improved Runner” award, which he thought was a prank by Coach Harris; because he never placed during his sophomore season. That award that afternoon actually changed Keith life, and his way of thinking; but most of all it taught him to always stay the course. Some frustration started to set in during some races, Keith honestly admitted to me, but he would not let it get to him; which actually made him a stronger person & runner.
Keith started to embrace these moments, after winning that award his sophomore year; that he initially thought was a bad joke by his head coach. His grades improved as well, and so did his willingness to come out of his personal shell; all life changing events in his life. Keith’s junior season on the track team went a lot better, he started to place in the top three; during his 400 meter races that year. This helped build up his confidence, leading to him having even a better senior season. Keith achieved the fastest 400 meter time, his senior season on the team; and he started to see more first place finishes as well. When times would get difficult for Keith in life, he would often think back to that moment, when he won that “Most Improved Runner Award”; and the real significance of it (to motivate himself).
Keith determination to find his way through life, lead him to college; to get a 4 year college degree in the Sciences (Biology). He continued to live by that lesson he learnt, behind that “Most Improved Runner Award”; that he still lives by today. One of his favorite quotes, is by Mother Teresa, “we can not do all things great, but we can do all small things with great love”.. He honestly felt that Life wasn’t about always getting A’s, or winning sporting competitions; or trying to make all your dreams come true. Yes you may eventually achieve all these things in life, but are you fulfilled personally. Keith started to go through a “Spiritual Transformation”, while attending college, but he wouldn’t fully live what he felt in his heart; until some years later.
After graduating college his interest took him in a different direction, he wanted to be an “Entrepreneur”, and run his own business; living his “American Dream”. After some failure during this journey, Keith became a very successful business person, with his online business; after teaching himself about the “Internet”. By consistently reading books at the library, sometime up to 11 hours a day. After Keith reached his goals, of living the American Dream, with the nice cars & home; sharing this life with his wife & children. Keith realized he still seeked fulfillment, in his life; that material things could not bring him. The drawback to being successful is, you always feel like you needed more. This cycle kept him working, and away from what he loved the most, his family & his faith; his soul was not at peace.
Keith decided to walk away from his successful business, after a down to earth talk with his wife; which she gave him her blessing. He promised God in 5 years, that he will totally serve him; and this was after the publishing of his first book “Path To Greatness”. A book about ones journey to Spiritual Freedom, that empowers his readers to find greater joy; and a better quality of life. Keith believes most people have what they need to be happy, but sabotage their own happiness, with their endless pursuit of “Material Happiness”; but are not truly fulfilled at the end of the day. Like one rapper once said in one of his songs, “More Money More Problems”. We are all talented / gifted at something, finding it along with your happiness; is actually the best way to live a peaceful & happy life.
Keith stepped away from his successful business, not letting it enslave him anymore like it once had; and kept his promise to God. His book “Path To Greatness” was praised by the Archbishop Emeritus Sylvain Lavoie OMI, St. Albert (Alberta Canada). Keith’s spiritual journey also lead him to take care of a homeless boy named Max, for 6 months. “You really get to know a person, when their are at their worst”; a quote that Keith had expressed to me as we talked.
Keith’s Mother & Father always supported his dreams, but his father did have some doubt about him, being successful as a Entrepreneur; coming out of college. Keith without any fanfare, turned from a boy to a man; before his family’s eyes. Keith now lives a life full of purpose & fulfillment, a man of “Unshakable Faith”; who truly cares about humanity..
Keith is one of the “Coolest But Real” individuals I’ve ever met, and ever interviewed. A man with a story so deep, I had to really condense it; to share it with you readers today. I wish you always find Peace & Fulfillment in your life Keith, and you continue to be the example for us all; because I’m blessed to even know you sir.
                   Coach Tony Branch
                 GLM Freelance Writer
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