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.