Ever since I passed the 50-year-old mark, I’ve been pushing myself a bit more on the exercise front. On and offroad mountain biking is my favorite workout elixir. And motivation often stands in the way during summer’s swelter.

Along the lines of motivation, while biking Raleigh’s amazing Greenway, life gave me a sign.

But before I reveal the sign, I want to share my three biking rituals:

  1. I high-five tree branches. Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks trees are reaching out to high-five passersby on a trail. I often wonder what people behind me must be thinking.

2. I listen to my Spotify Discovery playlist or a podcast. On this day, I was listening to my friends, Matt & Matt’s, Finest Work Songs. [Check it out! https://finestworksongs.podbean.com/]

3. I always smile and wave or nod or say, “Hello!” to everyone I encounter. And I keep count of those who reciprocate. I also count those who disregard my kindness-sprinkling gestures. And I have good news. Positive reciprocity is delivered at a ratio of 10:1.

The NC Museum of Art’s new installation.

Anyway, on a recent humid North Carolina morning on my bike, after a steep climb up one of North Carolina Museum of Art’s beautiful pathways, I rode towards a walker who was heading in the same direction. I smiled when I read the back of his shirt.

His shirt read, “Anyone can be a starter. Be a Finisher.”

I thought, “These are simple, yet powerful words to live by.” They reminded me of things I had done and still needed to do. But more specifically, his shirt was a reminder of our daughter who is working towards getting into the college of her dreams [Go Tar Heels! – even if it’s a reach]. Our daughter, Brooke, is ambitious, industrious, a rebel, the life of the party, resilient, and at 18, she has a seemingly invulnerable handle on life. But she also has a tough time getting tasks completed on time.

So, as I think about Brooke and this terrific t-shirt encounter, the poetry in this moment was threefold:

  1. You may be wondering if I asked permission to take this photo. Not only did I ask permission, but this kind stranger bypassed the nods, waves, and simple “hellos” – and he told me with conviction to have a great day! That felt so good.
  2. This story represents the power of the branded merchandise industry. This stranger’s shirt was a connection point. A reminder. And a call to action.
  3. Last, I believe in kismet, karma, and kindness. So of course, I will share this with my daughter, Brooke, who is working hard, yet struggling a bit to complete stressful college entrance essays, study her ACTs while her friends are summering, etc.

I will accept the gracious dividend for U-turning (a metaphor for something I am trying to do more of) to connect with this extremely nice stranger wearing this most excellent shirt. This #GirlDad can’t wait to share with Brooke in hopes my encounter will put a smile on her face. And perhaps motivate her to finish the important assignments to be even more proud of herself.  


Danny & Brooke Rosin
  • Danny Rosin, Co-President, wannabee cyclist, high-fiver, #GirlDad