I started my day different than most. Today, I caught myself thinking about my brother Jeff. I smiled, remembering how much he’s impacted my life. I started the day with gratitude.
Jeff is nearly 6 years older than me. He is extremely athletic — setting the national record for sit-ups in 5th grade (over 1000!), competed nationally as a spring-board diver at age 11, and pole vaulted in high school. With his muscle-bound, light body frame… Jeff was a gazelle.
And then there was me. Always trying to catch up to Jeff. Be like him. Make him proud.
I ran everywhere as a kid. And, I was actually pretty fast. But sit-ups?… nope… terrible core muscles. Diving?… nope… no sense of body mechanics and a fear of heights. Pole vaulting?… wait for it…
You see, pole vaulters are the coolest kids on the track team. They’re surfer dudes… and that’s saying a lot when you live in South Dakota, 1,500 miles away from the Pacific. I actually had the speed. And, I thought maybe… just maybe… I could work through the body mechanics and height issues.
One problem. I’m a Panda. Square heavy body, short bulky limbs. I know, you are already picturing it… a Panda trotting down the runway, carrying the pole high in the air, planting it in the box, and elevating… about 6 feet. Yep… the high jumpers cleared heights greater than me. Until…
The last meet of the year. Jeff came home to visit and was at the meet. He stood next to the landing pit encouraging me… channeling his spirit. And, something happened.
On my second jump, I felt lighter. My legs actually left the ground and swung upwards. I flipped my body, pushed the pole away and landed in the soft pit. And for the first (and only) time… the cross-bar didn’t crash down onto me. I looked up… and the cross-bar remained hanging, at 9’6″.
Jeff and I were excited, but as surfer dudes you can’t show it. We just smiled and nodded at each other like this was routine.
There is one other thing about Jeff. He one of the hardest workers, most caring souls I know. Gratitude from the Panda to the Gazelle.
Who’s your Gazelle? What was your Surfer Dude (or Dude-et) moment?