Partner Tracy Young takes health concerns to the tennis courts.
Tracy Young wins the men's 3.0 division at the Chenal Country Club Clay Court Championship in July 2018.
Tennis season never ends for Tracy Young, a partner based out of BKD’s Little Rock office. He hadn’t picked up a racquet in more than 15 years, but that didn’t keep him from contacting a local tennis facility to get involved, after a doctor’s visit took an unexpected turn.
After discovering his blood pressure was significantly high at his routine physical in the late summer of 2016, Tracy knew he needed to take responsibility for his health. Pat Young, Tracy’s mother, struggled with cardiac issues later in her life and eventually got on blood pressure medication. Tracy knew he’d inherited his mother’s genes, which further motivated him to take action.
In the fall of 2018, Pat found out her heart was functioning at about 30 percent capacity, and after 77 wonderful years, she passed away on March 1, 2019.
Since the severity of his situation caught his attention, Tracy has been playing in various tennis leagues year-round and has geared himself to be a singles player.
“It’s all on me,” he says.
BKD encourages self-improvement and practicing accountability
Last summer, Tracy’s men’s team played in the sectional tournament in Mobile, Alabama, for the second year in a row. They did well the previous year and returned with the goal to win the tournament. Tracy was paired against a 19-year-old from Mississippi who was rumored to be an important player—and a tough opponent. Tracy won by a considerable measure, and his win helped his team advance and go undefeated on their side of the bracket.
Tracy and his wife Lisa visit San Francisco in September 2017.
The team lost in the finals to finish as runners up, but Tracy remained focused on recognizing their accomplishments and taking pride in those moments. “We were disappointed we didn’t win,” he says, “but we were pleased with our effort.”
Tracy knew he needed to incorporate running if he wanted to get into shape and stay in shape for tennis, so he and his wife Lisa committed to making healthier choices. The couple began their days 30 minutes earlier to make time for a morning workout. They started with incremental and challenging, but comfortable, adjustments.
In addition, they paired exercise with a healthier diet: they cut out fast food and sweets, ate smarter carbs and incorporated more fruits and vegetables. To accommodate his work schedule and still reach his goals, the mornings started to get earlier. “I’m never going to sacrifice what we’re meant to get done for our clients,” says Tracy. “Being able to help our clients with their needs and get their issues solved are things I take pride in.”
Tracy was initially drawn to a career in public accounting because he wanted to help people solve problems. His interest led him into the health care world, an environment that further motivated his journey to a healthier lifestyle. A big thing in health care now, he explains, is population health management, which has led to many discussions regarding patients taking ownership of their health.
“Working in that environment and seeing my blood pressure rise, I knew I had to figure out a way to get healthy,” says Tracy. “It was time to start doing something.”
Being goal-oriented helped reinforce and encourage his mindset. While his job is demanding, Tracy continually set goals and reminded himself they were possible to reach.
He wanted to lose 40 pounds by the end of 2016, but wasn’t quite there. He then made a new goal and continued to challenge himself. Ultimately, Tracy lost 70 pounds—which has made all the difference. Since dropping from 240 to 170 pounds, he’s had no issues with blood pressure and hasn’t needed any medication to lower it. “It’s definitely been worth all the early mornings I put into it,” says Tracy.
Still, he pays extra attention to time management when it comes to tennis. Lisa jokes not to get carried away—he’s still an accountant.
A little time out leads to big-time changes
Some days Tracy is up at 4:30 a.m., working until 7 in the evening and hitting the tennis courts afterward. He’s grateful to have more energy throughout the day, which helps him stay focused and tackle each project that comes along.
When one of BKD’s largest clients called on a Friday afternoon for help with a special project, Tracy found the available staff and rearranged schedules to find the most practical way to assist. He then showed up on site the following Monday to help oversee the client’s project.
Tracy is grateful for the team he has at BKD, along with the depth of the firm’s resources and ability to respond quickly to help solve clients’ problems. Partner Susan Miller is proud to work with Tracy. “He always welcomes learning and continued improvement, never hesitating to offer a helping hand,” she says.
Tracy’s health accomplishments have helped him feel better, have more energy and enjoy a happier lifestyle than he had three years ago. He hopes his experience can stand as a reminder to others to set personal goals—and reach them. “I think this experience has helped make me a better partner,” says Tracy.
"We work hard, but you can take time out for yourself and I hope others throughout the office can see that."
Those who know Tracy, such as Senior Manager Michael Westerfield, have noticed.
“Tracy has inspired others to develop and pursue a passion,” he says. “He’s illustrated over the past few years the ability for anyone to transform their life.”