Dear Shawn Phillips,

PING! It is amazing, you link someone and they see your site. Ahh this internet.

You probably do not know who I am, but I do not think you will forget me. Let me refresh your memory a little….

My name is Tony. I was a huge fan of yours for a while. You and your brother have been inspirations to me, people I have wanted to be. I have followed you for years.

A few months ago, you posted something on your Facebook page about college football. You made a comment about how you thought it was ridiculous that the University of Connecticut made it to a BCS bowl with an 8-4 record. There were other teams that were more deserving of the BCS game. For some reason I responded because I love the underdog and they won the Big East, so they deserved to be there. I said that it was kind of cool that they made it since they had a tragedy the season before and they were a Division II school not to long ago. You blasted me in the comments saying they should win a metal or something and I was a fool to think the way I did. Most people agreed with you. UCONN got destroyed in the Fiesta Bowl, and I ate my crow.

Funny thing, it bothered me. I never responded back, I did not say a word. I took it like a man.

See, I am an underdog. I am the one you love to hear about now. You know, the fantastic success story. How did I do it? How did you lose all that weight?

Well, people did not say that to me before.

No, I was the 420 pound joke. The person that thought I needed inspirations in my life. There are a lot of people like you. So many people I put on a pedestal. You can keep your weight off, you look great without a shirt, why can’t I. True colors come out quickly though.

I never played sports. Sure, I know a little about them, but I was the fat kid on the basketball team riding the bench. You probably remember seeing someone like me. You probably nudged your friends and whispered ” Wow, I hope I am NEVER going to be like him.”

Well, you are right. You never were like me. You still are not.

I was the unmotivated one, the lazy guy in your eyes. The one that deserved all the pity.

I believed it as well. Wow, it sounds so weird now. How sorry I felt for myself. How I never thought I could make it. How I truly thought I would have this passionate guy live in a huge outer shell.

How did I doubt myself?

I did though. For so many years. While people like you were putting motivational comments on T-Shirts, I was eating. Let me rephrase that, eating a lot!

When you were talking about workout strategies, I was missing the gym. When you were trying to sell me the “You can do it” strategies, I believed you cared.

I do not think you did. Just like the trainers who wanted me to lose weight on their plans.

I do not think most people like you do. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it. You “inspirations” care about the success stories, but what about the people struggling? The people who repeat that they do not get it? People like me? The underdogs?

Well, I did defeat the odds.I made it to the big dance. I am still dancing, like everyone is watching. I love underdogs.

I love when people defeat the odds. I love when sport teams go farther than any one else thought they could. I mean, a college team who was a Division II team ten years ago and had a cornerback murdered making it to a BCS bowl game while winning a major conference.

Ehh, maybe it ridiculous to you.

Not to me though. When I needed all the help I could get, I looked up to people like you. Twelve week plans and 200 page books were all I needed to save me, right?

It had nothing to do with saving me. Believing in myself when others did not. Taking a step back to move forward did.

It has been a while since I lost over 200 pounds. In that time “inspirations” fade and pedestals disappear. Programs and plans and “best ways to lose weight” become comical. You realize that everyone struggles, it is how you react during that time.

I thought about this when I saw VCU make it to the Final Four yesterday. They were not supposed to be in the tournament. They were a joke. They made it. UConn is there as well, were they ranked at the beginning of the season? If you want you can come over and watch it with me. I do not have any Myoplex, but I still have a little crow. Full of protein!

Here is the deal, I am an inspiration to my son. He looks at me when I go to the gym. He sees me eat broccoli. His dad has been knocked around a lot, but can stand up for himself.

He does not know the guy I once was……

But I want him to know one thing. Not from you, but from me……

Never underestimate the underdog.


Tony Posnanski


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