Dan Stoddard is the perfect example of why we should never stop trying to accomplish our dreams. Some months back, Dan was playing in an alumni basketball tournament in Ottawa, Canada, when Algonquin College men's basketball coach, Trevor Costello, spotted him. Costello had been refereeing at the tournament and took notice of the 6'8", nearly 400 pound player. Costello spoke to him after the game about playing for the Thunder.
The former standout high school basketball player realized that he might actually have a chance to resurrect his ball career, but he needed to speak to his family first. Stoddard is the married father to two teenagers, and he also works full-time as a city bus driver in Ottawa, meaning that his time was already spoken for.
Stoddard's wife Amanda was taken aback by this sudden change in events, "Honestly, I was a little surprised, a little shocked. But this is something he's wanted to do since we got together when we were so young. This is the one regret he had in life," she said.
After enrolling in Algonquin's four-year accounting program, Stoddard then needed to do something about his physical fitness. If he was going to compete with young men half his age he was going to have to shed some weight and get his cardio up. He hired a personal trainer and started hitting the OC Transpo gym.
He managed to get down to 308 pounds, and when he tried out alongside 54 young men, he managed to crack the final roster. "Old-man-Dan", as he is fondly referred to my his teammates, officially became a college basketball player.
“We played an exhibition game against last year’s national champs,” says Stoddard. “I scored a basket, they called out my name (on a loud speaker) and I could have cried on the floor.”
This is an inspiration story of the highest order, and the implications are not lost on Stoddard, "If it inspires anybody, I'm happy," Stoddard says. "But they should inspire themselves. The only block in your way is your own mind. Don't listen to the little voices in your head saying you can't do it."
Share this story if you've ever had a dream that you have yet to realize. It is never too late.