If you’ve been in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge for about six plus years, you’ll remember Deerfield Beach, the Blowout and a few World Challenge events just a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean. The man, the myth, the legend behind this brainchild was none other than Jim Mathie, division chief for the Deerfield Fire Department. Not having seen Jim in a few years, I called him up and he and I, and our respective wives had a nice cruise Friday on his 29’ SeaVee, powered by twin Mercury 250HP-outboards. Jim is enjoying retirement to the max and has discovered the world of branding. If you saw the movie Jaws, then you know that Roy Scheider got the nickname “Chiefy” and was the slayer of Jaws, the maniacal shark that was terrorizing New England.
In Jim Mathie’s case, he’s the guy terrorizing the spiny lobsters off the coast of Boca Raton. Jim’s writing a book on how to catch lobsters and has brought out a logo’d line of Chiefy Dive Adventures apparel. I can’t think of a more idyllic lifestyle; putting in 30 years in a job you love and spending the rest of your life doing your favorite avocation: diving.
One of the sad parts of a length of service retirement program is that people sometimes believe that they’re going to do all these marvelous things, but really don’t plan to make it happen. Taking a dirt nap a year or so after you’ve retired isn’t what most people have in mind. But without taking care of your health and fitness, you’re leaving way too much to chance.
Putting effort into your personal fitness pays dividends now in the form of a safer and more effective firefighter, and this effort is “deposits“ that you put into the bank of longevity. Time has a way of flying; and the more years you accrue, it seems the faster the markers fly by. I’m probably preaching to the choir as participants of the Challenge “get it.”
I hope all of you max out your retirement, and continue to enjoy all the active lifestyle things that you always wanted to do- and have the body with which to do it. If you end up looking for lobsters, check out Jim’s website: www.Chiefy.net- you might just find yourself among that rare 6% of divers who actually catch bugs.