Desire and Guts

My on again/off again affair with running is 'on' again. I've been doing this since, oh, 1976 when I 'ran track' at Branson High School. I use the phrase 'ran track' loosely.

One of the guys I ran around with in those days, Tim, ran track. He ran the 220, and a relay or two I think. He also was a low hurdler. One day, in PE, Tim was practicing his form with a couple of hurdles. I got to messing around with it, too, just for something to do. Well, Tim told his dad about it.

Tim's dad was our PE teacher. And he was the track coach, too.

"Hey, Dad!" says Tim. "I think I found your high hurdler!" says Tim. "Scowden! You going out for track?" says coach. "I guess so." says I.

Inspiring, isn't it?

Wait, it gets better. As it turns out, I was a terrible high hurdler.

But I did last an entire season on a team in high school and that's a pretty cool thing to do. I recommend it. Even if you are terrible.

As I think about it now, it never occurred to me to quit. I think, if I was failing at something today at the rate I failed at high hurdling, I would quit it. It would be so obvious that someone else could do a better job that I should get out and let that someone have my place. But quitting never crossed my mind. Honestly, I am amazed by that.

Because there have been many times in my life that I bailed out on things that were not going well. Perhaps, at times, even quit too soon. I've quit things when I could have done better, but did not want too, and I am not proud of that. But I never considered quitting the track team my senior year, even though it was a 50/50 proposition whether I would finish a race without hitting a hurdle and falling down.

I look back over my rather unremarkable life and am astonished by the desire and guts of my 17-year-old self.

Where did that guy go?

And is he gone for good?