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Aloha and Welcome to My Website!

I am an Associate Broker, Realtor® with Long Realty West Valley, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.
I specialize in real estate sales in Arizona West Valley Golf Retirement Communities.
I have Bachelor of Science Degrees in Chemistry and Biology and a Masters Degree in Business Administration with Project Management concentration.

As a year-round Sun City Grand resident and full-time Associate Broker Realtor®, I can help you buy and/or sell real estate in the golf retirement communities of Sun City Grand, Sun City West, Corte Bella, Arizona Traditions, Sun City Festival, PebbleCreek and Trilogy at Vistancia.
Buyers and sellers receive what they desire when selecting me as their estate agent:
an experienced, dedicated, well-educated, professional local Realtor® who specializes in real estate in Arizona golf retirement communities.

Sun City Grand ~ I LIVE HERE, I WORK HERE, I KNOW THIS COMMUNITY! ©2007



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The Scotsman who could not fly, then did

Anyone from these parts or familiar with the Superstitions has heard the story of the “Lost Dutchman.” Few, I suspect, have heard of the Scotsman who could not fly, then did. This is his story. If you were fortunate enough to see the acclaimed 1981 film Chariots of Fire you already know part of the story about two rival runners, British teammates Harold Abrahams, and Eric Liddell. Harold, a Jew, was driven by a “fire in the belly” to break down the prejudice against his race. Eric, a devote old school Christian, ran “for the glory of God.” But he ran with a very unorthodox running style, head held way back, mouth gaping wide open. It wasn’t pretty. Even the British press in The Guardian would later call Liddell “The ugliest runner to ever win an Olympic Championship.” Ugly as his style might be, it seemed to work. At an athletic Championship in Glosgow, a visitor watching the 440 yard final in which Eric seemed hopelessly behind the leaders in the last lap, snorted: “that bloke Liddell will be hard pressed to win this race.” To this, a Glaswegian who had seen him race before countered: “Ah, but his head is not back yet.” Almost as if on cue, back went Liddell’s head, mouth gaped open, and gangly arms and legs churning, he passed all his opponents for a win. 

Eric’s sprawling stride, arms clawing the air, and puffed out chest seeming to out-run his head, once drove American and other sophisticated experts to ribald laughter.  But Liddell’s archrival Abraham knew better, and would counter with a sharp: “People may shout their heads off about his appalling style. Well let them. He gets there!” Indeed he did. In the 1924 Paris Olympics, Eric Liddell won gold in the 400 meter, a race in which he set a world’s record that was to hold for the next 12 years. In his hand in that race he had clutched a small slip of paper on which was scrawled “Samuel 2:30,” a Bible verse that says “Those who honor me I will honor.” Liddell also took a bronze in the 200 meter. The gold in the 100-meter was taken by? Yes, you guessed it, Liddell’s teammate and rival, Harold Abrahams. The 100-meter had always been Eric’s strongest race, and one is left to wonder if he might not have won gold here as well. But he did not run that race, as it was held on a Sunday, and Eric would not compete on the Sabbath.

But it was to be off the track where “the flying Scotsman who would not fly,” truly did. “The rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say, is where Eric Liddell passed from sports hero to true hero. Shortly after the Olympics, Liddell returned to the land of his birth, China, not as a celebrated athlete, but as a humble schoolteacher and missionary. His mom and dad, Scottish Missionaries commissioned by the London Missionary Society, had labored there for years. Now their son joined them in Tianjin, and later in Xiaohang, extremely depressed and poor areas. On one occasion Eric was asked if he ever regretted his decision to leave behind the fame and glory of athletics. He responded: “It’s natural for a chap to think over all that sometimes, but I’m glad I’m at this work I am engaged in now. A fellow’s life counts far more at this than the other.” As austere as “this” was, in 1934 Eric was able to woo, win, and wed Florence Mackenzie, daughter of Canadian Missionaries. The couple would have three daughters, all born in China. It was to be a story with a powerful, if sad ending.  In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria. By 1937 it had escalated into an all-out war of unparelled brutality. The British Government advised all nationals to leave. All the Liddell’s did, except Eric, and his brother Rob, a Doctor. They stayed on at their rural mission post in Xiaozhaug. All there were rounded up by the Japanese, and interred in a prison camp at Weihsien (today known as Weifang). Life at the camp was brutal. 

One of the survivors of that camp, Norman Cliff, later wrote a book, in Chinese entitled The Campus of Loving Truth, about his experiences there. Cliff recalls Liddell as: “the finest Christian gentleman it has been my pleasure to meet. In all the time in the camp, I never heard him say a bad word about anybody.” Another survivor of the camp, American Theologian Langdon Gilkey wrote: “I would often in the evening see him (Liddell) bent over a chessboard or a model boat, or directing some square dance – absorbed, weary, and interested, pouring all of himself into this effort to capture the imagination of these penned-up youth. He was overflowing with good humor and love for life, and with enthusiasm and charm…” His sacrifices to raise and sustain the spirits of others, came at a price. On the day of his death, Liddell penned a final note to his wife: “Dearest Florence, I am spent. I have suffered a nervous breakdown.” In truth, on 21 Feb., 1945, Liddell died broken by overwork, malnutrition, and a brain tumor.  The last words of this champion in reference to how he had lived his life for Christ were: “It’s complete surrender.” Gilkey was to write: “It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint, but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known… The entire camp was stunned for days, so great was the vacuum that Eric’s death has left.”

Eric Liddell, the Scotsman who could not fly, had truly earned his wings. Born, having labored, and died in China, he is claimed as one of their own by them, and listed in the Chinese record books as their “First gold medal Champion.” But perhaps the deepest tribute to this great-souled champion came in 2008, just before the Beijing Olympics. Chinese authorities revealed a startling up to then undisclosed fact. Years before, Winston Churchill had agreed to a prisoner exchange with Japanese authorities. Liddell was selected for an exchange. But he had refused to leave the internment camp,  instead insisting that his place be given to a pregnant prisoner. The Japanese had agreed. Liddell died that two might live. His family was stunned by the revelation of this final act of sacrifice.

There are heroes, and there are Heroes. Erick Liddell, “the ugliest runner to ever win an Olympic championship” was both. He would have fit in beautifully in Arizona.

Anthony "Tony" Delatorre

Phoenix Retirement Communities blog
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Things to do in April 2014 in and around Phoenix
Thu, 27 Mar 2014 18:12:47 +0000
It's that time of year again. Sun City Grand community yard sale is on April 5, 2014. Check out other things to do in April 2014 in and around Phoenix. ... [Read More]
Spring into a GRAND Home
Thu, 20 Mar 2014 04:54:17 +0000
Open House! Sun City Grand golf course home will be open, Saturday March 22, 2014, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. We hope to stop by to see this spectacular Grand home, a Windsor model, the largest Sun City Grand home built by Del Webb. ... [Read More]
Copyright © 2007 Leolinda Bowers™. All Rights Reserved.
Leolinda Bowers
Long Realty West Valley
Ph: (623) 937-5701Fax:(623) 321-1117
Surprise, AZ 85374 US
www.leolinda.com
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