Apparently, I’m a long way from the high school long jump

image While visiting Mapleton High School yesterday, it occured to me that it had been more than 30 years since I’d pulled a hamstring. Fortunately for me, the Mapleton track team was only a discus throw away — which I suddenly realized when someone yelled “HEADS UP!”

As it turned out, the Sailors were finishing an inner-team “mini meet.” Despite what it sounds like, it’s not actually speed dating for high school midgets. According to coach Johnny Sundstrom, it’s a four-event “meet” among the squad that helps set individual baseline measurement for athletes in the sprints, distance running, throws and jumps.

The team was on its last event, the long jump, when my natural competitive instincts — normally reserved for “donut day” in the newsroom — were triggered. After talking it over with the coach, and signing a medical release form, then briefly discussing (depending on how things went) the idea of the Ned Hickson Memorial Long Jump, I took my place at the end of the runway. Mapleton senior Katie Dearman volunteered to record this historical event. Or as she put it, “Acquire documentation that could keep the school out of court.”

I believe Katie is headed for law school after graduation.

As you watch the first part of this video, I’d like to clarify that Katie does not have an obsession with my midriff. Although who could blame her. In this case, however, for some reason the iMovie application cropped out part of my head. Probably a safety feature…

Keep in mind that this was technically a Personal Best. At least at Mapleton High School, where I’d never jumped before.

And probably won’t ever be allowed to again.

My thanks to coach Johnny Sunndstrom, Katie and the rest of the Mapleton High School track team for letting me live out a dream that, more than likely, will haunt their nightmares.



(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

46 thoughts on “Apparently, I’m a long way from the high school long jump”

  1. I don’t normally watch the videos on blogs, but couldn’t resist this one. The thought occurred to me as you were running towards the sand that it was a pretty long run and would you even make it to the sand? So I laughed out loud when you stopped to catch your breath. But I’m sure that was just for comedic effect, wasn’t it, Ned?

  2. I started sweating just from watching your incredible athleticism. Well done. I’m so proud of you!

    Even more importantly, what the heck did you mean by “donut day” … isn’t every day donut day?

      1. I eat any donut within my reach the moment my eyeballs report their appearance . That way I know exactly where they are.

  3. Ned maybe next time.. That is if there is a next time, take your oxygen tank with you. I’m guessing because of your age, you just forgot. But then again, it might be to heavy for you to carry. Maybe there shouldn’t be a next time. I hope your hospital stay is short lived.

  4. Ahhh, the pressure of athleticism. I could see your muscles flexing like a tightly wound machine, Ned. The sweat on your brow (I could see that when you bent over gasping and gathering strength and power for your formidable feat) and the look of focus and intensity in your eyes. There was no doubt in my mind that you were going to show those young’uns just how indomitable our generation was and is. You could have dialed it back a bit Ned, you know you may have upstaged them so badly that they could lose hope that they could ever compete with our generation. You don’t want to be crushing any of their dreams with your performance.

    I took a screen shot of you flying through the air with your solar plexus muscles flexing and am going to use it as a motivational poster for those who think our generation can’t compete. Ahhh, the thrill of victory!

  5. That was just awesome! You’re like an Olympian. Next thing we’ll be seeing you on a Wheaties box then reading about your marriage into a family full of nastiness and imminent sex change!

    Do they still make Wheaties?

No one is watching, I swear...

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