Fittest Loser: Hard times are never here for good

  • Dick Quagliano wears his "Never give up, Never surrender!" T-shirt during a recent workout.

    Dick Quagliano wears his "Never give up, Never surrender!" T-shirt during a recent workout. Courtesy of Dick Quagliano

By Dick Quagliano
Posted4/19/2020 7:00 AM

It's funny how moments in your life can carry you through some of the darkest times.

For instance, a saying I used in my final year of coaching youth baseball helped carry me through a dark moment last week.


It was a very good team, actually the best one I ever coached. My friend, Bill Payne, the ultimate general manager, took the lead in the draft and we selected a very good group of kids. They all knew each other and were looking to have fun.

And they had tons of fun -- in practice, in the dugout and in the field. They pulled together and we were winning. Then, the bottom dropped out. We lost three games in one week.

I pulled the guys together after that third loss. I could see the look of dejection on their faces. We talked about a few things and I brought up something I remembered from the movie "Galaxy Quest."

"Never give up, Never surrender!"

We didn't lose another game and it wasn't because of my coaching. The kids knew they were good. They just had to hear it again.

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So, I handed out T-shirts after the season to my players. On the back was that same saying: "Never give up, Never surrender!"

That message has come through to me loud and clear, as well. Last week I finally hit a plateau in my weight loss. It is something anyone who has tried to lose weight goes through. It happened to me in previous attempts to lose weight, and it's usually the time I ended my diet.

I'm one of those people who weigh themselves every morning (yes, I know that's bad, but it works for me). However, for the first time since I began the Fittest Loser Challenge, I went three days without losing any weight.

Then, on that third day, the company I work for announced furloughs. Unfortunately, I was on that list. And with no high school sports, I found myself, for the first time in more than 40 years, without any job.

The final part of the trifecta was the weather. That day had been the best day this spring. It was a day where my wife Debi and I would normally sit on our driveway, sip a cocktail, listen to music and chat with neighbors (our neighbors did come by, and we sat strategically placed, well apart on the driveway).


It could have been a complete disaster for me. Instead, while my wife and neighbors enjoyed their drinks, I did as well -- with a glass of iced tea.

I did not skip my workout that day and I was rewarded the next morning when my weight began to drop again. With the new day, I used it to begin a new job search, one that I am confident will pay dividends.

These are difficult times for all of us. The challenges we face will continue.

Also know that we have the strength and fortitude to overcome these. It begins with taking care of your health. It is not too late to begin and, once you do, stay the course.

Remember: Never give up, Never surrender!

It will make you a better person.

Be safe.

• Dick Quagliano coached youth football for 32 seasons and has been a freelance high school sports writer for more than 40 years, the last seven with the Daily Herald. In addition, he is a salesman. He and his wife Debi have two adult sons, Michael and Anthony.

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