Part Two Of Chatting With Dickie V – Bouncing Back From Life’s Blows And Giving Back

Posted on May 9th 2016 by Christie DeNave

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Everyone gets struck by life’s blows, even when you’re the legendary Dick Vitale, the renowned sports broadcaster and former professional basketball coach. From medical issues to job changes, there were many times when Vitale thought his world was crashing in on him, but he always found a way to bounce back.

In part two of my chat with the Hall of Famer and Florida Blue member, Dickie V shares with me the importance of having a game plan and committing to it and how his most recent game plan is to help kids with cancer.

When you were diagnosed with lesions on your vocal cords, I’m sure that was an unsettling diagnosis considering your voice is something you’re known for. But you came through surgery and treatment and made it back to call the Duke-UNC game. Was there anything you learned from that experience or ways you stayed positive during it that you would want to share with others who may get unsettling news from a doctor?

You don’t climb the ladder of success unless you have a team around you – people really caring and helping you. But also, I really believe you find a lot about people when they deal with adversity. I’ve had several blows, like most people. I don’t care who you are in life, whether you’re financially successful or whatever, you deal with blows. And it’s important how you handle those blows and how you attack them. For example, I lost my eye as a kid, and I thought it was the end of the world. I lost a great job that I had coaching in the pros and thought it was the end of the world. I had bleeding ulcers when I coached 40 or 50 years ago, and I thought it was tough then. But I’m telling you, you bounce back. You have to be positive. You have to have a game plan. And, you have to attack that game plan and you have to commit. A lot of people make statements that we’re going to do this and we’re going to do that, and I have a goal to achieve here, but they don’t have a plan to make the goal a reality.

I do a lot of motivational speaking all over this country, and I share with those people about having a plan. I remember my daughters saying when they were in high school that they wanted to be able to go to a great college. That’s a great goal, but what’s your plan to make that a reality? What is going to be your study situation to really prepare for that? You want to be a tennis player? Tell me what your game plan is to get a winner’s edge over the people you compete against.

It’s organizing. It’s maintaining. And most of all, you have to care about yourself. If you don’t care about yourself, who’s going to care for you? That’s the bottom line.

You’re coming off of a successful Dick Vitale telethon yesterday. How has your involvement in the V Foundation enriched your life?

It’s inspired me, meeting so many youngsters who really are so courageous in what they’ve done – the chemo and radiation that they face. Like yesterday (at the V Foundation telethon), we had a kid Jake Taraska. He was told as a youngster, number one, he may not live, and then was told he’d never talk or walk. Today he’s cancer free, playing baseball and comes down and gives us a check for $4,000 that he goes out and raised. How can you not get inspired?

We had a kid yesterday, Cole Eicher, raises thousands. He had brain cancer, but he wanted to help other kids. These kids have inspired me beyond belief. And my gala now has become special. I’m obsessed with it. I’m obsessed with raising money for kids battling cancer, because there is nothing worse than watching a mom and dad sit in a hospital all day long watching their kid do chemo and radiation.

Read Part One of Chatting with Dickie V – Passion, Exercise and Enjoying Each Day


Filed under: Mind/Body/Soul  


Christie DeNave

Christie Hyde DeNave is a Senior Media Relations Consultant for Florida Blue devoted to serving Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida. She has worked around the globe with local, national and international media for nearly 20 years representing organizations such as the U.S. Olympic Committee, NASCAR, AAA and the State of Florida. In her free time, you’ll spot Christie cheering on the Clemson Tigers and serving on the Clemson University Alumni Council.

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