A tear meant more to Dave Pygon than if he received a million favorable reviews on Amazon.
His mother, Norma Pygon d’Alsip, 79, had the chance to read Dave’s first effort as an author, ‘Win the 16’, a motivational book which was published in early May.
The premise of the book is to help readers make the most of the 16 waking hours that most people have.
Norma is one of the inspirations of her career – and of the book. She even got her own chapter.
“She raised three children on her own,” Pygon said. “She worked during the day and went to school at night to get her university degree. It was very motivating.
“Watching this and going through this and seeing this was very inspiring.”
So Dave looked forward to his mother’s reaction to his book.
Would she like? Would she hate him? Would she criticize him?
It turns out she overwhelmingly approved, much to Dave’s relief.
“She had tears in her eye,” he said. “She is a former university teacher and she is a difficult student. She gave a thumbs up and she’s not a typical mother, so I was curious to know what she was going to say.
“She liked the book and she said she was going to read it again. It was a good time for her and she is tough. You can’t raise three boys alone on the South Side of Chicago without being as tough as she was.
Pygon, a graduate of St. Rita High School in Chicago, found success in the business world and made it into a motivational speaker, podcaster, and author. He now runs his own company, Pygon ONE Consulting.
He lived in Orland Park for nearly two decades and made his mark organizing and coaching a youth and high school travel team organization called Windy City Magic.
Three stars who had their early careers shaped by the Magic were Hickory Hills native Max Strus, who is a starter for the NBA’s Miami Heat, Tinley Park native Miles Boykin, a multi-sport athlete who is a catcher with the Steelers of Pittsburgh in the NFL, and Tommy Demogerantas of Orland Park, who plays professional basketball in Argentina.
Whether it’s coaching future pros or coaching people to be the best they can be in life, Pygon has always been a go-getter.
“I was always full of energy and had a lot of passion by nature,” he said. “I would say that has always been part of my personality. I’ve always had that fire. I was always an early riser after that. I’ve always loved motivational things, be it books, movies or sports.
One of Pygon’s strongest suggestions for trying to get a lot of work done in the morning.
“I believe in training early and doing things early,” he said. “Then you can start earning your day. If you can get a lot done before 10 or 11, that’s good because after that people will steal your time.
He had never written a book before and his morning discipline proved useful in completing this 168-page project in just a few months.
“It was learning, it was fun, it was frustrating, and it was difficult,” he said of the writing. “I started writing the book on October 2 and it was published on May 2. I was planning 5am to 8am or 5pm to 8pm and I had to do things.
“I put a little pressure on myself. I didn’t have the luxury of “oh, I have writer’s block”. But it absolutely happened. But I think what made it enjoyable was something Mark Twain said about writing something you know. And that’s what I did. »
He recorded a lot of information about writing the book, including the fact that it took him 108 hours to write 50,000 words before it was whittled down to 38,000. His next writing adventure may be to write a book for those, like him, who are not writers.
Meanwhile, there is another inspirational figure in his life whom he gives credit to in the book – former St. Rita English teacher Mike Kisicki.
Pygon said he and a group of Mustangs athletes weren’t too keen on learning poetry until they spent a few minutes with Kisicki.
“Nobody wanted to be there,” Pygon said. “There were a bunch of athletes in his room. But he opened the class with Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ and we dissected the poetry by dissecting the lines of that song.
All of a sudden, mentalities changed.
“He created a class that we enjoyed and learned poetry from that,” Pygon said of Kisicki. “I remember Simon and Garfunkel’s song ‘I am a Rock’ was about isolation. I never would have learned that or remembered it, but that’s how he inspired us to embrace the poetry.
“We can all inspire people and we can do it in different ways. But it takes work. And that takes conscious effort. He clearly did that.
Jeff Vorva is a freelance journalist for the Daily Southtown.