Sunday, March 1, 2009

Athletic Victories

After my last post I got a comment from across the pond requesting some tales of athletic victories. I would start by referring to a piece of fiction called The Swimmer I wrote back in November that's about 90% based on my actual experience. Come to think of it, the only part that didn't actually happen as written was the bit about the girl at the end. So dig into that for starters.

Swimming was really my thing in high school. I was mostly concerned with meeting the girls on the other bench, but eventually I passed six feet and developed some muscles. The advantage of being lanky was canceled out in running events due to my asthma. But the combination of the humid air and being able to rely on upper body strength set me up pretty well in the pool.

Not that I was the king of the sea or anything. There were some real super stars on my own team and a kid from a school up the road that even made those guys wither on the starting blocks. I have to admit that it was pretty cool though the first time I stepped up on the block and heard the kid in the lane next to me say, "ohhhhhh SHIT!".

The crowning achievement was in a relay event though. It was with three other guys swimming freestyle toward the end of the season my senior year. We demolished a record set by some of the aforementioned super stars. I think we may have actually lost the meet, but it wasn't really about that for us anyway. We were just out to have a good time competing and making friends on the other team. (It drove the coaches nuts when we'd loose and still be happy on the ride home.)

The Relay Team
Yours Truly at left, along with Rick Jablonski, T.J. Garrigan, and Max Schlaak all the way from Germany. You're lookin' at 700 pounds of stainless steel wrapped in leather (and 90's era Speedos) Also Coach Fix rockin the slick track suit.

About the only other thing that I was really good at was the pole vault. By my senior year I was in a position to tell the coach that I would only join the team if I didn't have to run. He bit. I couldn't quite reach the school record which was set back when the poles were a lot newer. The kid I taught smashed it two years after I graduated though.

I had this whole battle strategy cooked up to strike fear into the hearts of my opponents. I'd show up to the meet in full headbanger regalia. Flowing hair, goatee, biker jacket, ripped jeans, Anthrax t-shirt, and the obligatory combat boots (unlaced). I'd carry my sticks to the pit, dump em off and just lay down in the grass, blasting Overkill on my walkman while the rest of the team got warmed up. Usually by the time Hello From The Gutter was over I was ready to take a few practice runs.

I'd clomp down the approach, hair flying, and zoom over the seven foot qualifying height that everyone would be warming up on. Sometimes a couple guys would be squaring off, raising the bar and I'd wait till it got up near nine to start. Most of the time I'd bring the bar down but only because the buckle on my jacket would catch it. By the time the meet started I'd be back blasting some Megadeth to pass the time and keep passing on heights until it got up to nine feet. (I really hated to run, even the approach was too much.) Even if I missed a couple heights before going over, the competition was so sketched out that they were missing too. My crowning achievement was leaving all but one of the pack behind at ten feet and going on with one other guy up to eleven, nine. I wiffed, he sailed. Pretty frickin' sweet though.

So there's a little taste for ya. There's no trophies, just a few ribbons. I'm still friends with a lot of those kids that I met way back then though. Good times... good times.



mo.stoneskin said...

Wow. I'm feeling phenomenally chuffed because

a) I get this fantastic link to my profile and

b) I get such a thorough answer in a matter of hours

Sounds to me like you were king of the sea. Or at least, lesser royalty (of the sea...).

Either way, that was an excellent read. Thanks for the answer.

I suppose if anyone from across the pond demanded evidence of flowing hair, goatee, biker jacket, ripped jeans, Anthrax t-shirt, and the obligatory combat boots (unlaced), that person could dig around on this blog for photos...?

Jill said...

That is exactly why I love sports. the photo you posted is HYSterical! TJ, holy cow, have you seen him lately? absolutely no hair! Hang on to yours as long as you can dude, I've seen your dad!

MOPS @ Northgate said...

so you were the top recommended blog by the google reader when i signed in today.

fancy that.

The Mister said...

(Cartoon BLINK BLINK noise)