With great concentration I held the metal pole and looked at the bar ahead. What could be so hard about this? I ran down the track as fast as I could, placed the pole in the block and launched myself into the air.
From my 10th grade gym teacher “ 3 1/2 feet and you hit the bar! D-! NEXT!”
Needless to say I never considered myself a “Jock” in school, more the intellectual nerd type. I could decline Latin nouns, and conjugate verbs, manufacture explosives on the side in chemistry class, and do complicated math in my head…but gym class…
One day as I was being chased around the football field by an unpleasant upperclassman with hazing violence in mind, the football coached watched on with awe at my “Forrest Gump” moment of speed. He approached me.
“ Hey, son, want to join the football team?”
“ Join the team? As what?”
“ A fullback”.
Now given the fact that I knew nothing about football I went home and looked up what a fullback did. Whoa!!! Lots of blocking and sometimes you get to run…and get tackled by people who weigh 200 lbs more than you…who are mean…
My football career lasted 30 seconds in the head of some coach.
After that I never bothered to explore my lack of athletic talents….why bother to look into a Black Hole? Besides I was busy doing other things.
Only after I got on a bike 4 years ago did I discover that there was indeed a streak of Fast in there somewhere…so evolved the White Rabbit.
Today I rode again from Bar Harbor to Belfast Maine through Verona and it’s amazing bridge.
3 years ago the White Rabbit first made a mark by blowing away the field on this same stretch.
Today I decided that at least for one day on this trip I would put my body yet again to the test. Amazingly the hills seemed less steep to me, the path less arduous and though tired, I again handily beat the pack.
I know that soon several will speed ahead to pass me every day but for now at least I own one Yellow Jersey.
I know in particular one young woman who is a pole vaulter at the North Dakota State will soon be leaving me in the dust.
As I watched her ride in my rear view mirror I could see her lean, youthful, tall, muscular body in perfect rhythm, one that sails with ease over a bar 5 or six times my D- height of many years ago.
But today I take pride that at least sometime in my life, though a late bloomer, I did well enough more than once to get the prize.
The White Rabbit lives on but also knows the number of future Yellow Jerseys will be limited by the weights of time.
Better late than never.
Speaking of late bloomers…how about an early bloomer…my granddaughter explaining Black Holes to her father…
I wonder if she found anything in there about my athletic prowess?