Overcoming fear with every pedal

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Michael Reusse, a COCC student, rides his unicycle around campus. Learning to ride a unicycle is one of the many challenges that Reusse has embraced.
Derek Oldham | The Broadside Michael Reusse, a COCC student, rides his unicycle around campus. Learning to ride a unicycle is one of the many challenges that Reusse has embraced.

Katie Hamlin
The Broadside

A distinct ticking sound is created from the forward movement of a single wheel, enough to grab the of attention from students around campus, but what truly gathers interest is the man sitting on the seat of the unicycle.

Michael Reusse, a COCC student, chooses transportation without handlebars so he leans forward in order to steady his balance. He brings the unicycle to a stop and steps off. His handshake is firm, his smile, wide.

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Reusse has “plenty of ambitions and the spirit of a teenager” according to his family and while unicycling itself seems to be a difficult activity, Reusse embraces it every day, in part because of his incredible drive to learn new things.

Although Michael may seem fearless and confident, he confesses that what he struggles with most is overcoming fear, a reoccurring theme of his life.

For Reusse, unicycling is a another way, another step, to overcome that fear.

“Fear is there every day. I’ve learned the process of overcoming, but every day I’m faced with new stuff. Everyone is. I’ve learned very good lessons in my life on how to overcome that,”Reusse said.

Reusse is working towards a nursing degree at COCC. He plans on applying to the nursing program this June.

Although his path has hit road blocks, he believes that where are you are now is what’s important, not where you’ve been.
But Reusse has had an interesting history.

As a kid, he made a hobby out of racing four wheel vehicles. He spent every weekend racing until he graduated high school.

Reusse got into sky diving—jumping over 750 times—as well as rock climbing, fire dancing and white water kayaking.

He worked in metal fabrication construction for 23 years. After he injured his elbow and wrist severely in a snowboarding accident he had to change his line of work.

The injuries took two years to heal.

With Reusse’s incredible drive to learn, unicycling was another step in the learn-practice-embrace- challenge process. He takes his one wheel places others would fear to pedal believing that if we didn’t give in to fear we would be able to experience so much more in life.

His first unicycle was a Christmas present given to him from his wife. From the first time he took it for a ride, he knew that it truly fit his lifestyle. He unicycles for exercise, stress relief, and mostly for fun.

Others have also noticed his strong will and gogetter attitude and feel that his unicycling feeds into that.

“I would have to say that he definitely seems like a very determined and patient person. Unicycling must require that kind of an attitude and I can tell that he has that,” said Jesse Jones, a classmate.

Stepping outside your comfort zone and becoming aware of the moment will enable personal growth according to Reusse.

“Every day is an achievement. Every interaction is an achievement and none more important than the other. Every decision that we make is important, every action that we take,” Reusse said.

Katie Hamlin can be reached at Broadsidemail@cocc.edu

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