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Richard Swanson, Breakaway Brazil

Richard Swanson
John Swanson, Breakaway Brazil

I don't feel like I can do much justice to this subject without spending a ton of time collecting my thoughts and editing the snot out of my writing. I don't presently have that kind of time on my hands, so I'll be relatively brief.

Today I was given a link to an epic story, that of Richard Swanson. His life was much more than the few breaths I will exhale to write this post. I learned of his existence, his passion, his soccer juggling journey, and his death all in about five minutes. If only I would have known of him before that.

Richard Swanson set out from Seattle, Washington with the plan to walk all the way to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, for the World Cup. All the while he would juggle a soccer ball and raise money for charity. Talk about awesome! That's about three or four of my own passions and dreams combined. Had I heard about all this before today, I might have made an effort to at least meet Richard as he passed through Oregon. I know I would have experienced significant temptation to do even more... join him in his walk!

It is pretty rare to find a fellow juggler. Well, some of the news articles describe his trek as "dribbling," which is different from juggling. Juggling or dribbling, either method of reaching Brasil is impressive! Only a few times in my short life have I found people to juggle a soccer ball with. Most people want to play a game instead, but I only like to juggle. It would have been an honor to juggle or pass a ball back and forth with Richard as he was passing through Oregon - and to hear a bit of his story firsthand. Of course I also have great appreciation for Brasil, having been there four times. A significant part of my short life story was wrapped up in those trips and the time surrounding them. The idea of walking or driving from Portland to Brasil has also occurred to me. The P.C.T. has immense appeal to get to Mexico, and then on from there. But it was never more than a dream for me. Here was a man living the dream!

The journey was not meant to be, at least, it had a far more tragic end than anyone would have wished. Richard was hit by a truck while still in the Oregon part of his trip. I was very sad to hear the news, almost as if it was a dear friend who passed away. I have enough interests in common with this man to feel this loss more than an average tragic news story. Mom and I were even walking along highway 101 a couple weeks ago, probably where Richard passed by days later. I can definitely see the danger. I didn't feel super safe walking on the nearly nonexistent shoulder. I can't even imagine trying to juggle or dribble a soccer ball in those conditions!

I wish Richard's journey would have been completed. Many, after hearing the story, have casually or officially pledged to help complete parts of his journey. I might not be able to make a significant contribution, but if I can, I might: maybe juggle a couple miles in his honor. Good Lork. 777.

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