George Plimpton, My Hero

George PlimptonAmerican journalist George Ames Plimpton is my hero. In fact, I’ve modeled much of my own life after his. Plimpton’s concept of “participatory journalism” combined with the diversity of his experiences brought to life for me Anne Frank’s belief that, “life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” 

Plimpton’s palette of pursuits included competing in professional sports, acting in a Western film, performing a comedy act at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and playing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

George Plimpton hockeyGeorge Plimpton was the first editor-in-chief of The Paris Review, he pitched in the 1960 baseball All Star Game (Out of my League), sparred for three rounds with boxing greats Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson, he attended preseason training with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League as a backup quarterback running plays in an intrasquad scrimmage (Paper Lion), joined the Baltimore Colts and played against the Lions in an exhibition game (Mad Ducks and Bears), trained as an ice hockey goalie with the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins and appeared in a preseason game, played professional golf on the PGA Tour (The Bogey Man: A Month on the PGA Tour), attempted stand-up comedy, played tennis against Pancho Gonzalez, wrote the libretto to a new family opera-musical “Animal Tales,” and appeared in a number of feature films as an extra and in cameo appearances such as a small role in the Oscar-winning film “Good Will Hunting.”

Taking my own Plimptonian approach to personal reinvention, I have been inspired by him to participate in my own life by:

2014-02-18 16.32.19Becoming a singer-songwriter and performing at Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Café.

Opening for the Four Tops and the Beach Boys at college concerts.

Producing and engineering for London Records, Inc. during the height of the British Wave, working with such artists as The Moody Blues, Dave Edmunds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, VanMorrison with Them, Al Green, ZZ Top and others.

Appearing with the self-named rock band, The Garrison Project, at New York City’s iconic CBGBs and other Big Apple venues including DownTime and the C-Note.

Starting my own record company and producing, performing and writing the songs for The Garrison Project CD.

2014-08-15 19.11.00Hosting and producing my own AM news-talk radio show at WSTC/WNLK for which I was featured on the nationally marketed  Pepsi refresh Project which was promoted on the Super Bowl XLIV National Football League website.

Tom Arnold and GarrisonHosting and producing the “DINERS” TV show on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) and being featured in the AMA’s “MotoStars: Celebrities and Motorcycles” exhibit and book along with Brad Pitt, Carlos Mencia, Keith Urban, Peter Fonda and other celebrities and bands including Journey, Rush and Foreigner.

Garrison driving a dogsled team in the White Mountains for a leadership development program.
Garrison driving a dogsled team in the White Mountains for a leadership development program.

Leading business professionals on an extreme leadership and team building expedition in the White Mountains which was filmed for ESPN2’s “Extreme Magazine” TV program.

2013-02-12 12.05.25 - CopyStudying with award-winning director Stephen Rosenfield (“the best-known comedy teacher in the country,” The New York Times) to become a stand-up comedian and appearing at Manhattan’s famous Gotham Comedy Club, host to such comedy legends as Robert Klein, Jerry Seinfeld, Lewis Black and Jackie Mason and producing and hosting a TV documentary  about my experiences (“Comic on a Half Shell”).
Garrison Leykam talking cropped

Holding senior-level leadership positions for such notable corporations as MCI Telecommunications, DSL.net and Grand Circle Travel.

Eating and motorcycling my way across the Nutmeg State, chronicling my favorite eateries in the book, Classic Diners of Connecticut.

Garrison ridingTrekking across Egypt by motorcycle and writing about my experiences in a two-part feature story in New York rider magazine.

it’s dreams, no matter how grandiose or seemingly silly, that hold the seeds of our own greatness as defined by our personal meaning of success, so long as we relentlessly and uncompromisingly go after them. We owe it to no one other than ourselves to listen to the whispers of our own inner voice reminding us of our dormant passions that yearn for self-expression and the ultimate prize of being able to say, “I did it.” Life is not about how much money you’ve got, what kind of car you drive or what you look like. Life is about going to bed at night being able to say, “I did it” and waking up in the morning wanting to experience more of what life has to offer and saying, “I want to do it.”

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