Flanery, get the hell over here!!
So, over I went. My Grandaddy was just leaving the scoring table at one of my swim meets when I was about eight years old. He put his arm around me and walked me all the way to a bench on the other side of the pool. The meet was still going on, but I was done with my last event.
I was wringing wet and fresh out of the pool after having placed fourth in the 25 freestyle in the boys open division. After all of my age division events I’d always swim in the open, which was any age up to 13. The crowd was roaring as Pierce Huntington had just absolutely destroyed me in the 25 meter freestyle. Pierce was a bully of 12 years old and came from a family of swimmers, but that was no excuse for being beaten by almost half the length of the pool in a ONE LENGTH RACE! My Grandaddy always made me sign up for the open division whether I’d won my age group or not. He always said that “ain’t no one ever learnt ta win if they ain’t learnt ta lose first.” And against all the older kids, I became a fucking black belt at losing.
“You seen how them biggers can cross that pool? They leaving you fer dead. That boy got out and laughed at my Granbaby. Don’t feel good do it? I know you thinking’ ain’t no way ta beat that arrogant prick, Pierce. But, Ima tell you where he don’t stand a chance ta you. You swim the 25 and you both goin’ fast as ya damn can the whole way, ain’t cha? That’s cause a short race like tha 25 only care about the nature of a man, and that’s only what ya see when ya look at him. And the eyes only see 4 years older, stronger, longer and bigger. The 25 meter only care about them things. So that where he always gonna beat ya, ’til ya catch him up in size. You wanna beat him NOW, then you gotta steer the fight to where you got more of the necessary elements for victory. Ya see, he only beatin’ ya on nature, but I can see in his eyes that he ain’t got nothin’ from nurture… and that where character come from. And character what ya gonna need to keep goin’ once that basterd, Lactic acid, start trying’ ta tell ya in every different language known ta man that you need ta stop paddlin’ & exertin’, or your body gonna shut down, and maybe even die. But the one with character and heart, well, he gonna be able look that Basterd in tha eye & tell it ta “sit the fuck down, son, I got work ta do”. The 25 too short ta see a man’s heart… and character. But if that boy ever need ta swim long enough ta bring them 2 into the equation, he gonna come up empty… and my little tiny gonna show him what all the things that make up a man look like. An he ain’t gonna recognize a single one.
Well, I seen that boy’s name on the list for the 400 open, so I put you down too. That 16 lengths. Now only ’bout half of that care about nature. And maybe he gonna fight a little bit through the next four lengths as well. So I expect ya be losin’ fer tha first 12. But, you stay close enough to test him, and you gonna see that boy cower when tha real pain come. And when it come, you look that Basterd in tha eye and you SIT HIM DOWN. He gonna listen’ ta tha constitution of a Flanery. Then when Pierce look over at you creeping’ up, and trust me, he will, he gonna know you gotta be feelin’ Ol basterd Lactic just tha same. But when he see that you stared tha Basterd down & ain’t quit… well, he gonna go looking’ for some heart and character of his own, but he gonna come up short. And in that moment… my tiny gonna pass him where it really count.
‘Member, ya don’t fight purty with ugly & ya don’t fight big with small. Ya fight it in the arena where ya know you got more. And EVERY little shit out there’s got less than you SOMEWHERE… ya just gotta find that “where”. But anybody in tha world you wanna beat, GONNA get beat long as you take ’em to a place require heart, desire & character. You gonna find most peoples in life scared of tha damn deep end, but that’s where all tha good shit float.
Listen, you all alone in that pool, son. Same gonna be in life ‘ventually. Pain gonna come. BIG pain. You either SIT his ass down… or he gonna do you. One day Grandaddy ain’t gonna be here. A big part of bein’ a man is learnin’ how ta hold your own hand when tha lights go out. Now let’s go introduce Pierce… to a man.
Oh, and don’t tell ya Mamau we cursed.”
-Sean Patrick Flanery
Sean, you are one of my favorite actors! Have a great day!
Thank you again for such a wonderful post. Men like your Grandaddy raised men like you, and for that, I am very thankful.
You may have written this for one, but it speaks volumes to us all. Thank you.
“learnin’ how ta hold your own hand when tha lights go out” – My little mom taught me that one when I was very young. Probably the most valuable life lesson I ever learned and I do live it (sometimes I really wish I didn’t have to, but that’s just the way it is). You are one of my very favorite humans, Cap.
Sean as usual such an amazing inspiration. To have a grandfather that took such time to teach you so many amazing life lessons obviously majorly impacted and helped for the absolutely amazing man you are today.
Thank you for the much needed boost in showing me that no matter what I’m facing I am always strong enough to beat it, I just have to find it within.
I absolutely LOVE your granddaddy Sean. His words are filled with honest truth and wisdom. I love how after reading this I feel the lesson just fill my heart and soul with more purpose and consideration for myself and the life I’m leading. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. God bless and this is one I’ll read over and over and over again.
I always love reading your blogs! You are a great guy! We need more men out there like you and your granddad! Have a wonderful day!
Sean, you have inspired me in ways you will never know. Thank you.
Awesome and inspirational as always, grandaddys and mamaus of our generation are few and far between now. Your grandaddy was a wise, smart and genuine man who passed that down to you. Guess that explains why you turned out to be such a great inspiration to so many. Reading your stories brings back memories of my own grandparents which unfortunately are not with me anymore, so thank you and shine on 😉
Thanlk you so much for sharing this story with us. It’s amazing how much farther character will take you than raw, brute strength. Only with character can we really shine.
You’re amazing and it’s obvious your grandfather was an amazing man as well.
Thanks again for sharing him with us.
Such wisdom! Makes me miss my grandfather so much, thanks for sharing such inspiring words 🙂
Such words of wisdom from your Grandfather….Love your blog. Shine My Friend
I learned how to hold my own hand the hard way by making the wrong decisions which were based on fear. Youre Granddaddy was a wise man and you were so fortunate to have him in your life. Thank you for sharing his wisdom.
A grand lesson learned xo
Sean, I absolutely love your Grandaddy’s wisdom. Thank you for sharing so much of him with us.
Thank you for sharing this. I love reading your stories. My Daddy passed away 2 years ago, he was truly my best friend. There’s a whole in my heart that will never be filled until I see him again. I say all of that to say some of your stories have helped me a lot. Thank you for being you.
Thank you for another wonderfully insightful read. I love your blogs, especially the Grandaddy stories. They never fail to get me thinking or put a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing. <3
Your blogs come at the perfect moments.I don’t know if you read the comments , but thank God for men like your granddaddy. The world is at a loss for men like that now a days. They are few and far between. Makes me remember my grand daddy something I don’t do often enough, its too painful, and for that I’m grateful to you. You are a bright light shining in a dark world and I thank you for that.
Have no doubt…….Sean reads every word in every comment.
And your words were beautiful.
Yes, he does.
Thank you, I lost my granddaddy when I was young and find it very painful to think of him sometimes. I usually read the blogs about Sean’s grandad with tears in my eyes cause they don’t make alot of great men like that anymore.
Dear Mr. Flanery,
Thank You Sir for sharing this story, things have been not good lately for me…so reading this really hit my heart. You really have given me a new way to look at things. All i can say is thank You to Your Granddad…cause like someone else said Men like Your Granddad gave us Men like You, and its Men like You that make women like me feel good about ourselves!!
ARE YOU TODAY IS A SPECIAL DAY FOR MANY GREETINGS MY GRANDPARENTS
SHINE… UNTIL TOMORROW
I love this story Sean!! Your grand daddy did good. What a great person you are!!
Thanks for another inspiring post, Sean! When I run the Columbus Marathon in October and the “basterd” lactic acid is trying to mess with me, I will remember your Granddaddy’s (and your) words. 🙂
Thanks for the new blog, Sean. I know you must have won!
“Pain gonna come. BIG pain. You either SIT his ass down… or he gonna do you”…..
I really wish I too had been fortunate enough to have had someone as wide and caring in my life cuz BIG pain sure has sat me down over and over, but I’m learning how to hold my own hand (take care of myself) AND I’m learning to reach out and seek advice and be more open. Thank you so much for sharing those prescious words of advice Sean. I might not comment all that often but I do read your blog and draw on your experiences and the wisdom of your granddad. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend
I agree with you Vibeke. I didn’t know what life was going to smack me with. These blogs do help us don’t they?
Sean, thank you for giving a glimpse of things you hold dear and personal. I always enjoy your blogs and like I said, they help.
I’ve always told my boys that they can do anything they put their minds to, and give it all they got!
I envy those who had solid support system, coming up.
Kudos to your grandpa for his faith in you.
Words of strength &the encouragement as always Captain! YouGran Pappy was a wise man!
Beautiful and inspiring post. So glad I joined.
You Sir, have esp. The right blogs seem to come at the right times. I just very, very recently discovered how to hold my own in life. In fact, just a couple of days ago, I wrote a letter to three of my middle school bullies. I wrote them to confront them about what they’d done, forgive them, and bring myself closure. Those girls are responsible for so much of who I am today. This blog made me feel proud of that decision, made me feel as though I accomplished something. For once in my life, I’m actually proud of myself.
Shine on, you wonderful man you.
I’ve been suffering from anxiety attacks recently, I don’t know where they’ve come from or why they keep hitting me so hard – maybe it’s an age thing, I don’t know, but it’s been pretty awful. Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling like crap, came downstairs and sat on the sofa in my dressing gown, debating whether or not to bother actually getting dressed today. I checked my emails, saw your post and read it. . .
I’m now up and dressed, have the bike hung on the back of the car and am heading out for a 25k ride along the beautiful South Wales coast in this lovely Saturday morning sunshine.
You did this. You’ve given me the kick I needed to get up off my arse and *do* something rather than sit around feeling sorry for myself which, let’s be honest, is the easiest option.
Thank you ((((((HUGS))))))
Anyway, must go – the coast path is calling me. . . . . .
Pingback: Hold your own hand… | Promises to Keep...
I always love your stories. They touch my heart.
Thank you for all you do for your fans!
Always great stories. You inspire! Thank you .
Reading this made a difference in my life. Your granddad was wise and he makes a good point which I’m sure you already know. Thankyou for sharing
¡Gracias para esta sabiduría!
Thank you Sean for sharing your life’s lessons with us. You’re such an inspiration…
You grandpa raised a beautiful man, a true treasure…
Such inspiring words, you’ve been raised up so well with right values, you’re a real fighter of the good things and your grandad was a great man, it’s a radiant post,I love it, very inspirational and thanks for sharing it Sean 🙂
Sean, thank you. For this post and the many others. I was not raised to shine but thanks to your inspiration I am raising my son so he does. These words are all I can give back to you but they are from my heart, so thank you again.
I adore how the core of your narratives always resonates with the gritty determination of belief in oneself. It is so vital that we see our failings and our insecurities not as terminal trappings of our character, but also as opportunities to grow into something better. How beautiful that your Granddaddy imprinted his wisdom upon you at such an impressionable age. We must remind ourselves constantly that we are not static or fixed, but we are chrysalis, capable of metamorphism if only we seize the chances that life offers to us. Also, I commend you on how well you capture your Granddaddy’s syntax. When I read your writings about him, I feel like I’m standing there in his presence, his powerful words flowing into my consciousness. For those of us lacking in parental or familial support, it is a beautiful and empowering thing to witness through your eyes. Your tale brings into my mind one of my favorite quotes from a story called Courtney Crumrin: The Coven of Mystics by Ted Naifeh—“There was something about being cared for,” she thought. “Something magical.”
Damn… this is exactly what I needed to read today. Been very overwhelmed lately with feeling like a little fish in a big pond, as far as my writing career goes. This makes all the sense in the world. Thank you Sean!
You have no idea how badly I needed to read this. Thank you See-an for giving me a helping hand again without knowing it.
Sage words….thank you for sharing them with us!!
Keep writing Flanery–we love you!! 🙂 <3
Always love to hear about the lessons from your Granddaddy! Its a shame that everyone didn’t have a person like that in their lives growing up. I don’t have kids, but I try to pass “The Shine” to everyone, and hope they take a little with them! xo
This is a beautiful story.
I look back with pleasure on my lovely granfather. He was like that, a man that i loved to listen, that made me laugh, and especially someone who made me move forward in life, in my life. I miss him but he’s still there in moments of doubt. And he’s always good advice ! I love you Grandpa !
Excuse me for my english, it’s really not perfect !
Thanks for this post, and this blog. I love to read it even if i don’t understand everything..
Merci Sean, et à tout le monde : profitez de la vie et de ce qu’elle nous offre de plus beau !
Kisses from France
Thankyou for your inspiartional Blogg. I will save this amazing story and pass it on it teaches courage and inner strength and for this story it raises loyalty and genuine inspiration and this world needs more people such as yourself. Myself and daughter are massive fans of yours I have read others bloggs you have put up to my daughter and you have helped her little soul stay positive in all that she is going through. They get through to my other children also, and helped me lots in achieving being a better person and parent. Your blogs are kick ass and lecturing in a good way just wish I had discovered them a long time ago Thankyou
Your Granddaddy seems pretty amazing. Wish I had someone like that when I was little. Thank you for sharing these stories with us. Nice to be able to learn and chew on these lessons now.
Love this!!! This is EXACTLY what I needed to read… bee feeling like a little fish in a very big pond as far as my writing career goes…
Sean, my son really needed to hear this today. He’s been kinda lost lately – there’s been some really big changes we’ve had to make, and even though things are better now he’s still adjusting to the changes and new responsibilities. He’s never really had a positive male role-model and he’s never gotten any helpful advice from a guy in his life. So I read him this article and it was like I saw the lightbulb go on over his head… He made me print this out for him so he can hang it in his room. Even though you don’t know us, you are one of his role-models… one I’m happy to encourage him to listen to. SHINE ON dear heart! <3
I’ve been feeling a lot of psychological lactic acid recently, so thanks for writing this.
I kept hearing that Judds song “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ole Days” while reading this.
and now I really miss my late grandpa and just want to sit on the porch with a damn good single malt and think about how the Legacy left to me pertains to growing futures of my own children.
You are a very lucky man to be able to hear the stories you’ve listened to. Your grandaddy shows that every adversity can be overcome. Thank you for sharing your life with us
Thank you for your blogs. I have re-read them over and over. They are posted at times when I need a good kick up the backside. They are inspiring and I love reading the stories of what your grandaddy taught and told you. He was a real wise man. Thank you.
Man … do I love these Granddad posts!! Gives me more fuel & fire than anything else out there. Thanks so much for sharing his words of wisdom Sean. Xo
Flanery, I just read your latest blog. Coincidentally, I had just told someone days ago that the only real man I had ever known was my dad’s daddy – my grandpa – and it is great to know that your granddaddy was one, too – and to know there is one still alive named Sean. My grandpa was a man of few words (a trait I unfortunately did not inherit), but was a man with a tremendous amount of character and heart. Remembering those invaluable times with your granddaddy and sharing it on this blog is so refreshing and makes me remember those moments with my grandpa as well, I was fortunate enough to spend most of my childhood and early teen summers with my grandparents’ and specifically, my grandfather, who was the light in the darkness for me, just like your blogs can be. I appreciate it more than you can know.
Thanks so much for this Sean!! I have been an avid fan for years and even have one of your many personalized videos given me. I thank you for this because we ARE swimmers- avid swimmers, and my girls can never match the coaches girls (State finals @ 7 and 9, 8 and 10), you get the idea. Now? I have the words to give them hope, encouragement, and freedom from the limitations they feel are thrust upon them. And yes- I DO get in the pool with them, as often as I can, as I volunteer to teach the littlest and the ones who do not know how to swim, to swim. I will be there for them, with them, and on them!! Thanks, doll!!
Just like my grandaddy. Can’t wait to see u when I get there, Sean.
Your Grandpa sounds like a smart man. I have seen his words to be true more than once. This reminds me of my Grandpa…he was my favorite man in the world. He took me everywhere with him. I liked fishing best.
I promise, he sounds ALOT like my grandpa.I am a southern girl, “and we come from good old fashioned values, u either shoot it, stuff it, or wear it” and sometimes the people who r the toughest and realist to us r the ones we love the most. R.I.P Grandpa
I could write a book about what you make me feel today. But let me just say hello, and keep going ahead you are strong person. From a heart that you win today ….Mirela Goi Brazil 🙂
Your grandpa is right. I’m so glad we were raised in a generation of tell it like it is and man up times. Some kids out there like mine have hope for the future. I tell my kids all the time I’m not always going to be here. The sooner they learn to stand up the better off they will be. Thank you! Thank you for being you!
I absolutely love all the stories you have to share, great life lessons. You are so absolutely blessed that you have these stories. I grew up away from my extended family and wish I had had the opportunities to learn from them and to hear the stories from when they were kids. Hopefully some day I will be able to hear the stories, until then I shall gain my shine from yours. 😉
Whats thr story behind you becomming and actor?? Can you do a page on that?
Stories like this make me wish I was your best friend and could talk to you all the time. Your grandaddy sounds like an amazing man, which means you have to be quite amazing yourself. Can’t wait to see another post! Love reading your blog! <3
You have the best story’s
You’re grandaddy was a very wise man Sean. I remember doing swim. But did you win the 16 lengths?
Thank you. To ME… he was very wise!
It is wonderful that you had someone to teach you life lessons like this. So many people don’t have someone like your granddad to teach them. I had to learn to hold my own hand a long time ago and I hope that I have managed to teach my son to hold his own hand. I never really thought of it in those words but they fit perfectly. I love your writing ‘voice’ and I could let you tell me stories for days on end. Keep on shining!
I appreciate the kind words!
Lucky man, such a caring grandparent to teach you the things most learn by themselves. I hope I can teach my son to do all the right things and when it gets tuff to in your grandfathers words( put its ass down). I may sound all fan girlish but I love reading your storys they are funny and inspirational. Hoping you have a great day ^-^ HannahC^-^
Thank you for your story… what a role model for you as a young man to pass along to all of us; men and women alike to know the true heart of a real man. It’s rare. “Don’t tell your momma we cursed.” = brilliance!
I’m new to your blog. This is the third or 4th post I’ve read now and I’m really enjoying this. Your writing style is very distinct. You write the same way I’ve seen you talk in interviews. It’s a special talent to be able to get that across in written word. I could even hear your grand daddy’s accent here. Keep it up and I look forward to reading more.
I just found your blog from twitter and I’m hooked. Luckily there are great men who do step up to guide future generations. You are blessed. As a single mom, my son is blessed with my older brother who has mentored and coached Gabriel in wrestling, football and in life. The world’s young men need great leaders. You are an inspiration.
Why thank you!
Thank you for putting your words out there. I look forward to reading more since I over did my workout today so bad it required a nap and now I can’t sleep lol. I read all 4 of the Norman Reedus ones and a superman one. I loved them all.
Thanks for the inspiring stories I love everything about you
Glad you’re enjoying. JaneTwo will be out shortly!
Jane Two arrives this week! Thankyou Sean for giving us a piece of your soul, and let’s not forget to thank Grandaddy for all of the inspiration and the life lessons that helped shape you into the amazing man you are today, sending all of my love Xx
Why thank you!
You are more than very welcome sir 🙂 I don’t think I know anybody more deserving of success than yourself, you are a true gentleman xx
I’ll take gentleman. Thank you.
There are many more lovely words for you swirling in my head,but none good enough , I think you perfectly described it yourself in your novel :
“To exist in Sean’s unicorn presence was all I wished for, I hadn’t a clue what I could conjure to say to such a unicorn ” xx
Well thank you!