I arrived on the campus of Columbia University in the Fall of 1989. I was a hotshot track recruit from California and I was ready to run. The biggest adjustment, however, was the culture shock I encountered after growing up in a laid back surf town and suddenly finding myself amidst a loud, angry city. Luckily, the track team provided a safe haven from all the changes and my teammates are what truly got me through that rough time.
One teammate, in particular, became my biggest support. But it didn’t start out that way. In fact, one of my favorite memories of my early workouts at Columbia was running repeat 200′s (our coach’s favorite workout) while hearing Jean-Luc, a sophomore sprinter, telling me to slow down the entire workout. Finally, unable to take it anymore, I yelled that if he couldn’t keep up then to shut up and let me do my workout. It was the last time I ever recall me outworking J.L.
You see, J.L. was an average runner, at best, when I arrived at Columbia. Over the next three years he transformed himself from a scrawny 51 second 400 meter runner into a very impressive 46 second quarter miler by his senior year. And while his work ethic was admirable, it isn’t what drew me to him as a friend. It was – and still remains – his spirit.
Anyone who meets Jean-Luc Neptune never forgets him. His sense of humor is sharp, playful, and one that makes it easy to laugh at yourself. Whether it was his classic line, “Is that a paramecium in your pocket or are you happy to see me?” or his idea (along with partner in crime, Ed Cuello) that the track team should run naked through the campus each year (a tradition that started in 1991 and continues to this day), Jean-Luc embraces the humor and adventure that life has to offer. It is a quality that makes me lucky to call him my friend.
It has been 11+ years since we were roommates in our post-college days. That time in my life is full of great memories of being a young man living in a young man’s Manhattan. I’m glad I was able to do that and I’m lucky that it was with a good friend like Jean-Luc. Since that time we have both married (we were groomsmen in each other’s weddings) started careers (he, like most of my Ivy League bretheren, makes significantly more money that I do) and started a family.
And that’s why I decided to write this post. I’m pleased to announce one of the greatest guys to walk this earth is now a father. His lovely wife Sarah gave birth to Sebastien Jean-Claude Neptune this week and I am so excited for them both. And I’m even more excited for little SJC because he’s got a great dad.
J.L. has also recently joined the Daddy Blog community. So go on over and congratulate them yourselves.
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