Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Fight or Flight
Fight or Flight?
I remember I was a cross country runner and did pretty good. Track season started and we were running loops around this big field and part of it was around the track. I was in the 7th grade. Day after day, in severe pain, I would run past the pole vault pit and see the guys having fun. One day I stepped off and never came back. I found out that our team stud was Patrick Swayze. Yep, that one. Of course to us he was "Buddy". I think he was at the 10' level then and went on to jump 14' but he was far better than we were.
ANYWAY, we had a meet the next week and I was entered in the mile. I went and watched the pole vaulters and dreaded when they would call me for the mile. As it got closer I went and hid in the bathroom. I was in a stall hiding out and I remember them calling me THREE TIMES by name to come to the start line and I just stayed put. So I guess in the world of "Fight or Flight" I chose the latter. I wanted "flight" but not that type.
On the way home on the bus I was severely chastised by the coaches, and when I told them I wanted to vault they told me that not only can I not vault, but that I was off the team. Greatest day of my life. I went home and started finding bamboo poles that were inside carpet rolls for the new houses that were being built. I had my brother and Don Curry, who is here with me, and his brother and I started teaching them about this pole vaulting thing I saw at school and they too got hooked. We put out a step ladder and had a little piece of PVC for a crossbar and the peach tree branches on the other side. For awhile we landed on the ground and then we started putting carpet scraps down to land on.
I was at the same school in 8th grade so I didn't get to vault either but in 9th grade they built a new school and one of the track coaches, who used to be a vaulter, was looking for prospects and heard that I did it. He had jumped 12' 6" on a fibreglas pole and he put the bar up to show us how high that was and I became his willing student.
No real point to the story except that you never know where paths will lead. Sometimes a bad thing turns out to be good and visa versa. But pole vaulting has never been anything but good for me. Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba