Two weeks ago, a professional surfer named Andy Irons died unexpectedly. I don’t keep up with professional surfing, but I found out about the news through the ESPN obituary someone posted. The last paragraph of the obituary really struck me.
“No one who knew Andy could ever put into words what his passing means for the tight-knit community of professional surfers, for surfing fans worldwide or for the island of Kauai. But no one feels this loss more than the family he leaves behind, and the unborn child that has lost the chance to learn about surfing from one of the greatest the sport has ever known.”
My first thought was the heart-broken sadness that inevitably comes with death. My second thought was the impact of his legacy.
The article talks about his generosity, humbleness and determination. In the eyes of the surfing community and his family, he will be remembered as an accomplished man and an athlete who dominated, molded and impacted the sport of surfing. I don’t know Irons’s full story, but maybe he didn’t plan to be a legacy. He wanted to win competitions because he loved the sport and wanted to meet his goals, but how his life played out ended up being an inspiration and a legacy to many.
Reading his obituary was a good reminder about being purposeful in life. “Do what you love and everything else will fall into place.”
What do you want to be remembered for? What will be your legacy?