Let’s clear something up right now. I’m going to completely ramble in this post. This is going to be complete train-of-thought and I’m not going to apologize for it. So strap in and let’s go.
Sixteen years ago, I sat in my freshman dorm room on Stew 2 at Middlebury College and vowed to win a NESCAC championship. In December of my freshman year, I wrote the number 8.40 in permanent marker on the back of my door. It was what I ran in my first collegiate race. With each PR, I crossed off the old mark and wrote in another. Needless to say, I vandalized that door quite a bit over the indoor and outdoor seasons. I kept the list dropping until I reached the 14.87 that Doug Burdett had run when he set the previous school record.
Funny how that sophomoric freshman in college had absolutely no idea how long it would take him to actually accomplish that team goal that he set for himself. He had no idea it would take him four full undergraduate careers to finally get there.
My father is famous (or infamous) for saying that “If it isn’t hard, it isn’t worth doing.” I’ve always embraced this thought, but only recently have I begun to appreciate the utter magnitude of that statement. Especially now that I’ve spent the last 16 years pursuing this goal. I’ve never really taken a moment to reflect on it much because after missing it one year, I would just immediately turn my attention towards the next. I never stopped to pause and think about it and the time just kept passing away.
Until Saturday. And then it gave me pause. 16 years?!? That’s almost half my life. 16 years?!?
While I was sitting in that 2nd floor room in Stewart Hall, somewhere on the planet there was a 2-year-old Bryson Hoover Hankerson and Mitchell Black still soiling diapers. Brad Nakainishi had just turned 5 and Graham Beutler was doing his best blonde-Harry Potter impersonation.
Yet, here I am, a 33-year-old who had to wait for those toddlers to grow up in order to cross that goal of my 50 Life Goals list. Thanks guys. And thanks to your parents for making you the hungry, loyal, trusting, dedicated people that you are. (All of you should take a moment and thank your parents for this title. You wouldn’t be at Tufts, competing, or half the person you are without them. Right now…call your parents…say thank you…say you love them.)
Then I thought of Echo. He’s 2-years-old now. Somewhere, there’s a silly college freshman who’s waiting for Echo to grow up. Neither of them know it yet. And neither of them know each other. But there’s a chance that they’ll change each other’s lives forever. I only hope that I can guide him to be that loyal, joyful, hungry, and dedicated.
After this meet I immediately drove to Brunswick, ME to attend a friends wedding. 11 hours of NESCAC track and a 2:30 drive. Hooray for track! My wife was already there. This experience alone epitomized why I love and need her to do this job. Not only does she support me when it gets tough and give me the freedom to spend 11 hours of a Saturday at the Oval but she’s my outlet to all things non-track. Every time I bury myself in my job and this team, she’s the rational thought telling me to step away for a bit. Marion, thanks for giving me my balance.