- Posted December 3, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge
Hope Hopes to See Grandkids Grow Up
He ran five miles a day when he was in his thirties and was in great shape. But, after moving to New York and back home to Atlanta, the life of nightly banquets and receptions caught up with him. He ballooned up to 270 pounds. Motivated by three small grandchildren, he joined Weight Watchers and has lost 55 pounds and is back in good shape.
He has started running and working out. His youngest daughter, who actually holds the world record for the marathon in crew and has run triathlons and marathons, talked him into going for the 2013 CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He is getting ready, excited and knows he will do just great. Actually, both of his grown daughters have run marathons. One lived overseas for 18 years and ran the Tokyo and London races. The other ran the New York Marathon and the one in Chicago. They are always the ones who encourage him to enter.
Bob Hope was the public relations director of the Atlanta Braves when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's alltime home run record. He was also Ted Turner's first PR guy and promoter. After leaving the Braves and Turner and going to work for The Coca-Cola Company, he led the effort to build the statue of Hank Aaron that is outside Turner Field. As dad of two daughters, he wanted to give girls a chance to play baseball and started the all women Colorado Silver Bullets professional baseball team, managed by Braves Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro.
He is co-owner of Hope-Beckham Public Relations in Atlanta.
Every spring, he organizes a group of 50 business people to travel to rural Honduras to build schools and medical clinices. He started HAVE Foundation (Honduras Agalta Valley Education Foundation) to fund the schools built by his group over the past 15 years.
He has served on the boards of directors of the Atlanta Braves and the Ottawa Senators (NHL). He also has been a longtime member of the exeuctive committee of the Women's Sports Foundation and is a past recipient of the President's Award of the Foundaiton for his support of Title IX.
He worked for many years in New York City as executive vice president of Burson-Marsteller, then the world's largest public relations agency. He came home to Atlanta in 1994 to start Hope-Beckham with his longtime friend, Paul Beckham, who had just retired as president of Turner Cable Sales.
He is very active in the Atlanta business community. The Rotary Club of Atlanta has 500 members and has been around for 100 years. He is the only member of that club ever to win all three of its top awards for community service. He was also named Rotarian of the Year this past year for Rotary District 6900 (Georgia).
He frequently writes for various publications and is the author of two books and working on a third. His first book, titled We Could Have Finished Last Without You, is about the early days of Ted Turner owning the Braves. It was recommended in reviews by both the Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. USA Today reviewed it, noting that every baseball fan should read it to understand that baseball is more than what a fan sees on the field each game. His second book, titled Greater Late than Never, profiles 125 people who achieved their success and often fame after age 50.
He and his wife Susan have been married 42 years. He met her at a party while working with the Braves. When she would pay no attention to him, he started talking to her boyfriend, who said his dream was to play on a big league field. Hope then piled the boyfriend, Susan and others at the party into cars and took this to the Braves stadium, where he opened the lockerroom, turned on teh lights and watched alongside Susan in the dugout as her boyfriend and others played baseball. When she refused to go out with him, Hope found out that Susan was an opera fan and faked being a big opera buff, inviting her to an opera. It worked. They have two adult daughters and three grandchildren.
Hope is on the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center and has been an election observer assigned to a very remote area of Nepal.
At 66, Hope would likely be the oldest on the CNN Fit Nation team but will be the most dedicated and enthusiastic. Oldtime baseball player Satchel Page once asked, "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?" Hope would be about 30.
Also, there is another saying that old age is when your regrets replace your dreams. One of Hope's dreams is to participate in the Triathlon and he is getting ready. Just losing the 55 pounds has been a very good first step.
In football, the two minute warning signals a time to speed up the game and get in as many plays as possible. If age 66 is a two minute warning in life, the two minute drill is one.
Bob and Susan Hope live in Stone Mountain, Georgia. They are members of First United Methodist Church of Decatur, where Bob and daughter Clair sing in the choir.