By Kevin Grogan
Making a positive difference in people’s lives can come in many ways. This is certainly the case for Chris Seymour. Seymour has been a fixture in the Physical Therapy (PT) at the National Training Center for close to 15 years. And while you would expect a gifted PT like Seymour to help get people back on their feet from an injury or surgery, Seymour’s good-natured heart and compassion is what most of his patients remember. Seymour is certainly a gift to have around the Clermont area and we are appreciative of everything he does around the community.
Tablet: What’s a typical day like for you?
Seymour: I usually wake up between 5 and 6 am to workout before work. If I workout in the morning, then I come home to play with the kids at lunch. When I get home after work, the kids and I either play outside, ride bikes or swim. They also love to wrestle! Getting three toddlers fed, bathed, and in bed is a job in itself! After the kids go to sleep, Maria and I spend time together. I usually stay up later reading or playing guitar until around 11 pm.
Tablet: Known to cave dive or run a fifty miler for fun. What is one of your favorite adventures?
Seymour: I love medical mission work! My parents started taking me to other countries when I was around 9 years old. Once, on a trip to Venezuela with my mom and a team of doctors and nurses, we were stranded for 2 hours out in the country with no transportation or phones. A local gang came after us because of all the medications and drugs that we had. It was literally a split-second timing and God’s hand that got us out with no one getting hurt.
Recently my friend David (Belleview) and I participated in a fundraiser for the Navy SEAL Foundation for Wounded Warriors. It was a 5k night time swim in Lake Crane. Not being a great swimmer, and that it was at night, placed me way outside of my comfort zone. We had a total blast though. Over a hundred people came out to do the event and it was a huge success. For me, that was the most recent ‘adventure.’
Tablet: What sort of things were you into growing up?
Seymour: I am an only child, so I learned early how to be independent and to entertain myself, spending a lot of time in the woods with a machete, hacking through the brush, building treehouses, etc. Growing up in the Mississippi and North Carolina country, I learned how to shoot and generally, survive in the woods.
Moving to downtown Charlotte, NC was a culture shock but I transitioned into playing guitar and riding bikes and skateboarding. In high school, I spent a lot of time playing electric guitar. Towards the end of high school and early college, triathlon called to me. One thing led to another and I entered the world of Ironman and ultra-distance racing.
Tablet: Life has changed so much in the last 5 or so years for you. Talk a bit about now and then?
Seymour: When I was single, I went around at ‘100 mph with my hair on fire.’ That was my M.O.
The day I realized that my single years were coming to an end, I was skydiving and the only thought in my mind during the free-fall phase was about how bored I was. Maria and I crossed paths not long after.
At 43, I still cave dive, ride motorcycles, shoot and workout, but not nearly as often as before. Most of those activities are usually now done when the kids are fast asleep or at school. I include my family in everything I possibly can, and try not to miss a minute with them. It really is true that kids grow fast; so don’t blink. Over the years, medals, degrees, and accomplishments have piled sky high but at the top of it, all is my wife and kids. Nothing has topped it. We don’t watch tv or have much screen time in our house. It’s not the easy way, but growth is happening!
Tablet: You are seen pushing 150+ lbs of kids at the local parkrun 5k these last few weeks. Why is it important for the four of you (the three kids and yourself) to share experiences like this together?
Seymour: When Maria is not working on a real estate project, she joins us. When I’m at work, she can be found leading them in the same path.
It’s important to build ‘your best life’ now, and not wait till the kids are bigger or we have more money or whatever the excuse is, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. No matter if you are 18 or 80, we all have the same amount of time left to live; the breath that’s in your lungs right now.
I want to teach them early on to take care of their spirits first and foremost, their bodies and relationships. “Laissez-faire living won’t cut it; If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up wherever you’re headed!” That being said, Maria and I share those words with the kids to teach them how to really live and make the most of the time we are gifted. Sometimes, that even looks like just resting.
I want the kids to learn, to read the seasons of life. A person who gives 100% all their time will never reach their potential. Even nature teaches us that there are seasons to rest and seasons to go after things with all of our might. Knowing the timing takes training and wisdom.
Tablet: You’ve been a physical therapist at the National Training Center for as long as I can remember. Not too many people have been there as long as you. What excites you about doing what you do each day?
Many people come into the clinic at all levels of broken and brokenness, some with visible scars, some with metabolic scars, some with scars in their soul. It’s amazing to see people grow and move past the breakdown. Being allowed to play a small part in their remarkable journey is a blessing to me.
Not all patients appreciate being pushed, but even they must know that I want the best for them.
Hellen Keller said ‘character can’t be developed in ease and quiet, only through the experience of trial and suffering can the souls be strengthened and inspired and success achieved.’
Tablet: Just the other day I saw that you were teaching your young daughter how to sharpen a knife! Does this sort of experience bring you back to your childhood?
Seymour: Yes, very much so! I was quite skilled with a knife as early as 5 years old, and competent with a rifle at 8. I want them to be able to handle any situation, be it spiritual, emotional or physical. We are starting now being intentional about teaching them in the midst of the fun.
Tablet: Your faith has always been so important to you and especially now with your kids playing such a big part in your life. Can you talk about that?
Seymour: Having kids has really stretched my faith because it forces me to face my fears of something happening to them. I do all I can to prevent bad things from happening and to protect them, but ultimately, I have to silence my heart when it becomes gripped with fear, and trust that God will protect them. The opposite of fear is faith, and ‘without faith, it is impossible to please God.’
Tablet: What advice would you give one of your patients looking to live a more active lifestyle?
Seymour: Get a specific, measurable goal and surround yourself with people who can help you get closer to it. There is ‘wisdom in a multitude of counselors.’ Refrain from comparing yourself to someone else. It’s important to constantly set new goals. The key is having a vision of where you want to go. You are designed to get the results you work for, so if you don’t like the results you get, change what you are doing!
Tablet: Anything else you want to add or want your south Lake neighbors to know?
Seymour: I am not a religious person but faith is important. Get plugged in to a good church and look for a minister who knows how to pray and read the Bible.
Kevin Grogan is a sportswriter for the. South Lake Tablet. Kevin and Kimberly are owners of Dash-Sports