Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 26 -- A Story with Heart

I know I generally write about the PGA Tour but this week I am going to relate a very inspiring story about Erik Compton, a Nationwide Tour member and first time Nationwide Tour winner last week at the Mexico Open. I heard this story on the Jim Rome Show so even if you can’t stand Rome please read on because this story is remarkable and very inspiring.

Erik Compton is the only professional athlete that has received not one but two heart transplants in his short 31 years. At age 12, Erik had a virus attack his heart which required him to be placed on a transplant recipient list. He received the first of two transplants that same year, at age 12, from a 15-year-old girl named Janine. After the transplant was successful he needed an activity that would help aid him in his recovery and keep him active, and he chose golf.

Choosing golf as his sport turned out to be a great choice because he was a natural. Erik started winning tournaments and even earned a free ride playing golf at the University of Georgia. Following his career at the Georgia, Erik played on the Hooters Tour and the Canadian Tour, winning tournaments on both.

If you are thinking this story couldn’t get any better, or be more inspiring, you would be wrong. At age twenty-eight Erik suffered a heart attack. A heart attack for anyone is horrible but a heart attack on a transplant heart is brutal. Directly after the heart attack Erik drove himself to the hospital making phone calls the entire way saying his goodbyes to friends and family. He thought it was the end of what he describes as a great life, but it wasn’t.

This is where Erik’s second heart transplant comes into the story. He received a second heart from Isaac, who was an All-American volleyball player. Erik said Isaac was a "6’4” stud who was way stronger and more athletic than I am.” He is still in contact with Isaac’s family to this day.

Erik’s philosophy on life is that life is not a race; it’s all about what you do with your life in the time you are given. Erik also believes you don’t have to be perfect, just live life to its fullest each day. He also said the problems you have in life don’t define you; it’s what you do about them that define you and makes you who you are.

Erik is a true inspiration to everyone. Just think about all the “problems” you let get in your way on a daily basis. Considering I still have my original heart and my health I guess you could say I really don’t have any true problems. Something to think about anyways.

Erik is married with a 2-year-old daughter and is second on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2011, which guarantees him a spot on the PGA Tour next year. I don’t know about you but I need to hear a story like this every once in a while to really put what I think are problems in my life in true perspective. I will be rooting for Eric Compton from this moment on.

Erik Compton is the new Hendren’s Hyperbole Johnny Vegas. Let’s go Erik!

-- Matt Hendren

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