I've been taking this track and field class for the past 3 1/2 weeks. Not by choice; it's required by my major. The teacher is a man named Dr. Taylor. He's a little firecracker of a guy. Doesn't take any crap but also has a unique sense of humor. He isn't very sympathetic, so I think that a lot of people don't like him. I, however, appreciate his honesty and high expectations.
He has tried to teach us the various field techniques: discus, shot put, long jump, and high jump. I have picked up bits and pieces, but I don't think anyone has learned enough to go try out for even a high school track team. The running is a bit painful, mainly because I haven't sprinted that hard in a while. I was timed in the 400m yesterday and the 800m today. Ouch. It was a good pain, though. I happen to be one of very few people that appreciate the burning lungs and aching legs. It makes me feel alive. I miss that.
Needless to say, Dr. Taylor hasn't taught me very much about track. He's tried. But I think 4 weeks just isn't long enough and most of it is based on every one's natural ability, or lack thereof.
He does, however, have some funny ways of teaching me some life-lessons. The entire second week, for example, the weather was pretty bad. On this one particular day, it was gray, cloudy, windy, and cold. After our warm up he had a big smile on his face and said, "Ohhh, I see the sun coming out!" I looked up into the sky: dark, cloudy. I said, "Dr. Taylor, what are you talking about? I don't see any light, let alone sunshine!" With that same huge smile on his face he said, "The sun shines everyday in my world." Making the best of what he's been given and seeing the 'silver lining behind every cloud.' So wise :)
Last week, at the end of class, he started talking about washing dishes. He said, "You know, last night I had to wash the dishes. I didn't put them in the dishwasher, though. No. I washed them by hand. If I had put them in the dishwasher they may not have been cleaned all the way. Dishwashers probably only give 85%. I cleaned by hand because I didn't want to miss any spots. I wanted them to be clean. I wanted to give 110%." Why show up to anything if you aren't going to give everything? It's easy to 'coast' and only give half-effort. In the end you are only cheating yourself, and probably pissing-off the people around you. Dishes. Life. Brilliant.
Today's life-lesson was probably my favorite. There is a kid in my class who hurt his leg. Dr. Taylor walked up to him and said, "If this were the 'big game,' (referring to soccer), what would you say to your coach? You would tell him to put you in, right?" The kid didn't really answer him but I said, "Well what if he tries to run today and the 'big game' (thinking of a soccer game) isn't until next week? If he hurts it today he won't even be able to play in the important game." Dr. Taylor smiles at me and says, "No. The 'big game' (referring to life) is everyday. You better show up every single day and try like it's your last 'game' because you might get hit by a bus tomorrow. Then what's the use in saving yourself for next week?" We don't know how many days we have left. I forget that a lot. Sometimes I think I'm invincible. We can't show up and not try because it may be our last chance, without us even knowing it. The BIG GAME. Life. Right again, Dr. Taylor.
So I've been waking up at 7am for the past 3 1/2 weeks of my summer. Not only to feel that lovely burning sensation in my lungs and to embarrass myself by not being able to clear the high jump pole; but also to pick up a few life-lessons. They may be subtle and sound a bit ridiculous and annoying to some people. But they are legit, from a guy who's been around and seems to know what he's talking about. I'd say that's a bit more important that learning how to throw a shot put.
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