Club Meeting – February 5th, 2015
Our speaker today was ODAC Eastern Mennonite University student-athlete Ryan Gehman. EMU’s track coach Jason Lewkowicz introduced Ryan to the Club. “He really inspires his teammates, not with just his talent, but he works very, very hard and just his perseverance to take on life’s challenges and face them day-by-day and accept the highs and lows. It’s really cool to be apart of that,”
Ryan is a senior majoring in Kinesiology (the study of the mechanics of body movements) with a minor in Coaching. He is also an accomplished cross country athlete. In 2014 Ryan qualified for the NCAA National Championships, was USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Male Athlete of the Year and earned other recognitions (video at link). Little doubt his formal education coupled with his athletic abilities prepare him to be a successful track and field coach.
Ryan’s Facebook page is titled “Know Your Limitations and then Defy Them”. At an early age he was diagnosed having Asperger Syndrome, a debilitating disorder with doctors predicting his living a simple cloistered life. As Ryan describes his condition “one really good way to put it is, most people have a bucket to put everything in life in, the good and the bad. People with Asperger’s have a thimble to put life in.” His parents refused to accept that prognosis for which Ryan is very thankful.
Public speaking does not come easy, but Ryan wants to share his story. “I’ve always struggled with, why I have to experience this? Why did God give me this hardship?… But if I can give back and benefit others and do something worth while with it, that’s why I wanted to do this.”
After learning of the challenges Ryan has overcome, we expect he will become a great coach.
The Club’s relationship with the ODAC Basketball Tournament enables us to meet student-athletes like Ryan Gehman.
For many Club members this opportunity is a highlight of our Rotary year.