This certainly isn’t the first time Twitter put somebody in a tough spot, and $1,000,000 says it won’t be the last.
But this isn’t a story of an athlete, manager or executive popping off via social network, in 140 characters or less. There will be no suspensions, dismissals or public floggings over this. Everybody wins this time.
Meet Michael Duda, managing partner of Consigliere, a Connecticut-based, marketing-driven investment company he co-founded with Steve Nash. Yes, that Steve Nash. Duda, 40, is a lifelong Syracuse fan, a college basketball enthusiast and prolific tweeter.
On Mar. 27, Duda watched 11th-seeded VCU, Cinderella slipper in tow, battle top-seeded Kansas for a spot in the Final Four. Like many of the fans who enjoyed the Rams’ stunning run through the NCAA Tournament, Duda expected the Jayhawks to roll past VCU. This was Kansas, after all.
In fact, Duda felt so strongly about it that when VCU stormed to a 17-10 lead early in the game, he fired off this missive, via Twitter:
But VCU did win the game, 71-61, a result so shocking to the sports world that it was deemed the “Best Upset” of 2011 at the annual ESPY Awards.
Duda could’ve written off the tweet as a joke or some misplaced internet bravado that would surely be forgotten within days, maybe hours, but he didn’t. He was going to run that half marathon for charity.
“If you say something, you’ve got to back it up,” Duda said. “We live in an age where social media is broadcasting. I don’t want to go down as Patrick Ewing and predict a win in game seven and not back it up.”
Duda chose B*Cured, an organization that raises awareness and issues grants to doctors for brain cancer research, as his charity. His wife’s mother passed away from the disease when his wife was 11-years old.
But there’s more.
When the people at B*Cured heard Duda’s story, they upped the ante and offered him a spot in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6. Now, the same guy who openly despised running, the same one that joked during our interview that, “running is what they use as punishment in sports” had agreed to run in perhaps the most prestigious marathon in the world, a 26.2-mile gauntlet through the boroughs of New York.
Although he suffered a torn calf in June, Duda is training hard for race, which he hopes to finish in under five hours.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Duda said. “If you’re going to lose a bet, own it and make something good of it. I’ve done a lot of dumb things, but this is the one with the best upside.”
Duda hopes to raise at least $25,000 for B*Cured. As of this writing, he’s raised nearly $7,400 in a little more than a week. If you’d like to donate to the cause, you can do so HERE.