Tuesday, May 06, 2008

press on

press on
Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Yes, I go to as many of Jack's track meets as I can, but honestly, this is what excites me more. I’m excited by the behind-the-scenes process by which one achieves.
What you can’t see here is that there are no other teammates on the track. Coach Moore is standing at the finish line with a watch and Jack is practicing the last 200m of his half-mile. This is the point when every muscle screams from depletion, lungs can’t get enough oxygen, and every fiber begs you to quit. But we push through the threshold of pain.
Some see vanity in athletics, but I see discipline. One learns the art of denying his body pleasure that is harmful, embracing discomfort that makes him stronger.

It is fun to compete against dozens of other runners, to place well in an event, but at the end of the day, what goes home with you is your time, and it is measured against your own previous times, not against someone else’s. The competition with others fades, win or lose, but we press on for an enduring prize.

Indeed, we are our most formidable foe. Perhaps we can’t be beat, but we try.

Also, what you can’t see here is that Jack is using a rabbit – a little guy, several years younger who paces him in his last 100 meters. Watching these two interact is a joy. I’m watching a metaphor for life’s marathon. Jack struggles toward the coach at the finish while trying to stay just ahead of the younger guy coming behind, looking to him for instruction and guidance. The little guy can pace him, but he has to be shown what to do, where to go.
Jack, you can do a lot in a lifetime if you don’t burn out too fast. You can make the most of the distance, but first you need endurance – first you’ve got to last.