Like I said last time, there's not much different going on in the present world of running. My next race is still over a month away so there's not much to talk about. So instead of the present, I thought I might talk about the past. I thought it might be interesting every once in a while when I have nothing new to say to instead write of something old. Sound like fun? No? Well too bad, here goes. If nothing else, I'll read it and cherish the memories which will now be forever saved on this blog.
So here's the first one. It's my earliest running memory. The details are very sketchy or foggy or whatever the word that means I can't remember exactly when it happened or all the facts, but I do remember his name. Al Batson. I know I was in elementary school but I don't remember what grade. Let's say 3rd. We were having field day where everyone participates in events: running, jump rope, tug of war, relay race, etc. We had a day each year where we competed in these events for ribbons. Ribbons? Come on private school, spring for some hardware. But a prize was a prize and I wanted a ribbon. Now it's important that you understand that I was not an athlete. My entire grade of classmates and my family would agree with me here. I lacked coordination in basketball, baseball, soccer, ok sports. That just wasn't in my genes I guess. I tried the sports, but I was that kid where the other parents on the team cheered but secretly rolled their eyes whenever I got the ball or came up to the plate. You know the type. But running was my saving grace. I could run or at least I'm assuming I could based on this story.
It came time in field day for the 50 yard dash. Everyone knew that Al Batson was going to win. He was the runner in our class. Actually, he was the all around athlete in our class but everyone knew he was fast. He was the free play football champion because he'd score all the touchdowns. He had skills. He probably worked out in the gym each day because he was pretty cut for a 3rd grader (or whatever grade we were in). So back to the 50 yard dash. My goal was to get a ribbon. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Well, I knew Al was getting 1st, so I was hoping for 2nd or 3rd. We lined up at the start line and the teacher fired the start gun. (Actually she just said "go." We were 3rd graders for crying out loud, but I'm making this story more dramatic.) Now it was just a 50 yard dash. That takes what? 10 seconds. But in my mind it was in slow motion and took several minutes. I got off to a great start. I had my eye on the finish line and that ribbon waiting for me. My form was good. I was getting good traction in my velcro sneakers. And I was moving. About halfway through, I remember looking over and seeing Al right next to me.
By the way, I need to point out that this post is called Albert vs Al. Not Al vs Al. My name is Albert. I don't like being called Al. That's my dad's name. Sorry dad, but Al sounds like an overweight trash collector. No offense to any "Al's" that are reading. Back to the story.
I do remember seeing Al right next to me and being surprised. He wasn't in front of me. He was beside me. I was keeping up with Al. Me. Albert. And I remember everyone else in the race was a good distance behind us. It was truly Albert vs Al. Could I actually beat Al Batson? The fastest kid in the class. I was so happy in that moment that I turned it on and sped up. So did Al.
Now, you're all going to kill me. I told you the facts were sketchy. I can't remember who won. He either barely beat me or I barely beat him. I'd like to say I won. In fact, let's just say that. I won. I think I did to be honest, but if I'm being perfectly honest, I can't fully remember. I was just very happy that day that I kept up with Al. I remember receiving many congratulations from classmates and teachers for my performance. Many (again, many in my mind, it was probably 3) were impressed that I kept up with the champ. I knew that day that I also had a few skills. Maybe I wasn't coordinated (not in the least). Maybe I would never be a star athlete (not even close). But I could run. It took until High School for me to pick up running again, but it was that day in 3rd grade (or whatever) when I knew I was born to run. I got a ribbon that day and I cherished it until I got home and apparently lost it because I have no idea where it is.
Al Batson. If you're out there and reading this, let me know. Maybe we can have a rematch some time. I'm game.
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