As I wrestled with writer’s block Tuesday trying to translate my thoughts onto the computer screen, I realized I was writing my first “back in my day” experience.
All through high school and most of college, coaches and educators constantly reminded me to enjoy the experience. I let the advice blow in one ear and slip out the other, thinking I would always be involved with sports, have a chance to see my friends and have time to get some more practice in.
I kept pushing everything off until later and rushing through the daily tasks.
It wasn’t until the four-mile mark during my last cross country race my senior year of college that I finally understood and realized the ignorance of my youth.
I was on my way to my best time ever for the 8K. I was battling the constant, nagging pain of a hernia along with the fatigue of lactic acid building in my arms and legs.
Our top seven finishers would move on to represent the team at the NCAA Division III regional meet in two weeks. I was stride for stride with two teammates battling for the last varsity spot.
As we made the turn for the final 250 meters, my chance to make the top seven slowly started to pull away inches at a time, and my body had no response.
Watching and assisting Sports Editor Scott Vicker and Larry Peterson cover high school postseason action these past two weeks, I know a lot of seniors are having similar thoughts I did as I stood in the finishing chute of my final race.
What could I have done differently? Why didn’t I practice harder? Is it really over?
While I don’t have the answers, there are still many positives that come out of unsuccessful postseasons.
I have learned more about myself through my failures than I ever have during my few moments of success.
I built friendships that have survived time and distance because I surrounded myself with positive and challenging people.
And now I can channel that drive for wanting to be better and have better outcomes into my career and my future relationships.
High school and college are not the best time of your life, it is the best time to establish your foundation to have the best life. Make the most of it, but don’t forget success is the journey, not the final destination.
If you see me around town this month, I am making a feeble attempt to grow a mustache. I know it looks silly, but November has been recognized as “Movember,” an opportunity for men to grow mustaches to promote men’s health.
I am one of the worst at not wanting to go to the doctor and getting through any pain or sickness on my own, but getting regular physicals and catching any problems early is the best way to stay healthy and live a long life with friends and family.