Note: This one might be more for me than anything, but you’re all welcome to come along… Also, I'll do better on Friday!
As mentioned the other day, I've won some awards in the past. Now, I've never won anything truly major -- except for that Nobel Peace Prize I won for brokering a peace treaty between Charlie’s Angels and the Hell’s Angels -- but one of the awards I won was for running Cross Country my senior year of high school.
I never intended to run Cross Country.
I actually loved football, but my size in high school -- roughly that of a twig -- was not terribly conducive to the cause. It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I started playing soccer. As such, my autumns were pretty open with regard to sports.
In the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I was moved into a new school district. I went from a relatively large school to one of those small ones where everyone knew and grew up with one another.
My final class of the day for that first semester was Physical Education. On the first day, we didn't actually do much of anything, except stand around and maybe get measured or something. (Admittedly, I'm not positive about getting measured, but I know there was a lot of standing around.)
Being a shy dude anyway -- new school or no new school -- I was just standing off to the side, minding my own business and probably thinking some of the weird thoughts I share with you guys. (“How unoriginal was the person who named the fruit ‘orange?’ I mean, yeah, I get that the fruit is that color and there is an obvious connection, but he/she couldn’t come up with anything better? Not even putting a letter in front of ‘orange?’ We could be eating zoranges. How cool would that be? Man, they really missed the boat on that one.”)
[Yeah, I know… I was lame. Let’s move on, people.] (“Did he say ‘was’?”)
While standing around, one of the guys from my class came up to me and we had the following exchange:
New Kid from New School: Hey, you're new here, aren't you?
Me: "Uh, yep." (While thinking: "Obviously, since the rest of you all know each other.")
New Kid from New School: Can you run?
Me: "Uh, yep." (While thinking: "One foot in front of the other, preferably faster than slower. What un-handicapped kid can't handle that?")
New Kid from New School: You should join Cross Country.
(Let it never be said that I am un-agreeable!)
So I joined the Cross Country team.
Coach Pritichard, assuming you are one of the billions of Ducks Out Of A Row readers, stop reading now! (Well, I don't mean "reading in general." If nothing else, I like to think of myself as someone who promotes literacy, and as being not an advocate of an alliterate society. So stop reading just the rest of today's post and come back again on Friday when we tackle the lowering of society's bar for entertainment. Thank you.)
Sometimes, we stopped at the bakery and got free cookies.
Anyhow, the summer in between junior and senior years, I ran twice. On the same day.
I had received a random call from a teammate asking if I wanted to go for a run. I was up for it. (See my note about being agreeable somewhere up there.) So we hit the roads running. When we got back to our starting point, most of the other guys from the team were there. They said "Hey, we're going out for a run, wanna come with?" So I went for a second run. And that was my "off-season training."
Well, during season, I somehow managed to drop a fairly significant amount of time. I don't remember the specifics, but it was more than enough to win the "Most Improved" award for our team.
When presenting the award at the end of the season banquet, Coach Pritchard made sure to mention that "John must have really busted his ass in the off season." And you know what? For those two runs, I certainly did.
Friday’s topic: Here we are now, entertain us!