The “fire in the belly” and the hustle, as taught by my father

Posted: April 19, 2011 in CrossFit
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m back in Atlanta for a week visiting my father and supporting family. My father suffered a cerebral hemorrhage last Friday, thankfully while he was already in the hospital for tests. He’s expected to make a fully recovery with physical therapy. Thanks to everyone for their well wishes and support. It’s truly very appreciated and I know my mum appreciates it as well. You can imagine being a mother of eight, five of whom are still in the house with the youngest three being eight years old and under. This has been particularly tough on her.

Thinking about my dad and all he has been through, it’s hard not to think of him as my hero or “super” hero. Despite multiple setbacks, he continues to lead with a positive attitude. Consider the list below:

  • Hit by a car at age 8; broke every bone is his body including pelvis. His mother was told he would probably die and if he didn’t, would have severe complications throughout life.
  • Diagnosed with dyslexia and b/c of complications with accident, missed 2 full years of school
  • Labeled as mentally incompetent by educators. His mother was told he would never amount to anything, “He’ll prob be a garbage man all his life.”
  • A self termed juvenile delinquent throughout his early teens (lots of stories much too long for this post)
  • While captain of the soccer team in high school, an opposing player kicked him in the knee cap (maliciously). He ended up losing his scholarship to Cornell. Doctors gave him a “metal knee cap”, told he wouldn’t be able to run much past the age of 30 and would have complications walking.
  • At 41, hit a stalled dump truck in the middle of the highway at 40 mph. Broke his neck at the 6th vertebrae. Doctors predicted he would be fully paralyzed.
  • At 52, while out on his daily run, suffered an aortic aneurism. Thankfully was able to wave a car down before losing conscience. After 12 hours of surgery, 2 different surgeons and 3 procedures (because they couldn’t stop the bleeding) Dr.’s gave a grim prognosis of recovery. On a scale of 1-10 of “bad things that could happen to you, this was a 10.” Guess they weren’t as familiar with my father’s history.
  • At 56, despite not feeling well, traveled to Fla for a business meeting. On his way had to hold on to a building while asking a stranger for help. They walked a block together, my dad holding the building while the stranger supporting him on the other side. Biz meeting ended up being a success. Promptly came home to current situation.

The list above is the just the physical setbacks my father has encountered. They do not include all the financial, family, etc. which are almost just as long.

Now consider his victories. He has a marriage of over 30 years. Eight children with the oldest three having earned full or partial scholarships for school. He has created half a dozen businesses and sold them. He has continued to run everyday despite the doctors recommendations against it. He made a full recovery from nearly dieing and/or full paralyzation 3x. In every company he has worked with, he has been the TOP PRODUCER, EVERY YEAR.

No body can out hustle my pops. My father is the epitome of a real life Rocky Balboa. Life has knocked him down 100 times and no matter what the odds, he gets up one hundred and one. But getting up just isn’t good enough. My father wants to be the best in everything he does. Heart explodes in my chest? No problem, I’ll be back to work in a month laying tracks over my competitors. Metal knee cap? No problem, I’ll run everyday just prove my doctors wrong. My father can not only hustle, but part of hustling is thinking of new and different ways of doing things that his competitors don’t think of. He is very creative and innovative. His mind never stops.

Always possess the “fire in the belly” for everything you do in life. Aka, passion. It’s something that can never be taken away. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach that drives you to excellence. No excuses allowed. My dad is a living example. Talking and walking are different. My dad is all walk and always very humble.

Always be thankful. My father is a very religious man. An Irish Catholic, he made sure we went to church growing up and always always always thanked God for a our blessings.

Lastly, the source of all my father’s hustle and passion can be attributed to one woman; his mother. Gloria Jone Lewis Mahoney was an amazing woman who never quit on my dad throughout all the trials and tribulations in his life. She was a hard ass too. One of my father’s favorite quotes was hers; “I don’t care if you grow up to be a garbage man but you better be the best goddamn garbage man on this planet!” I was blessed to know her for twelve years of my life, enough to leave a lasting impression.

So why does the title of this blog speak to me so much?? Reading through this post will hopefully help you understand.

BTW, just received word my dad put his socks on himself this morning, two days post op. Mark my words, he’ll be reaching for his suit tomorrow.

Never Let It Rest,

  1. Jeff says:

    Thanks for posting this. Please tell your dad and Cheryl I said hello. I know of many of the stories you’ve posted here as told to me by your dad, your Uncle Chris, and your grandmother many years ago. I hope Scott makes a full recovery, if only so we can connect and catch up. By the way, I do understand and appreciate the fire-in-the-belly concept, but I’ve also come to know that, every once in a while, it’s ok to let it rest.

  2. Lena says:

    They sure don’t make them like they used to… your dad is simply amazing! I’m happy to hear he is recovering quickly. Given his history, I am not surprised.

  3. Cheryl Mahoney says:


    Scott has spent a great deal of time trying to find you and Paul. He found Paul but you were a mystery. Please get in touch with us. This is the kind of thing that can give him more hope. He needs all the prayers he can get. He has a very long road ahead, more than Brendon, in his all eloquence, has described. I have printed out this blog and plan to bring it to the hospital tomorrow morning and read it to him. He will be humbled by Brendon’s unbelievable words but thrilled that a ‘blog’ can deliver the one person that has so eluded him for so long. He will be thrilled. All our best to you and your family!

    Love, XXOO


  4. Brendon Mahoney says:

    Thanks for the post mum. If anyone can do it, it’s Dad.

  5. Scott Mahoney says:


    The Archangel Gabriel, said to the Virgin Mary, “Blessed are thou.”, and I say to you “Blessed are you”…Thank you for being such a great son and a continuing source of good and holiness. My best to you always.

    Love Dad

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