As I sat watching some of the Olympic contests, I remembered my own thoughts of competing.
I was probably the worst runner since Charlie Brown tried to have an athletic career playing baseball and also coaching his team.
But, the dream did live if albeit briefly, and throughout my life, I have enjoyed watching these great athletes compete with the best in the world.
I am sure we all have our athletic moments where we think we might be able to be great. I was diligent when I ran for my track team in Warrenton, but running the 880 and the mile, I was dusted by so many people on a regular basis. Even after that career, which was not all that great, though, I was part of winning teams that took conference titles, and part of it that was because of my recruiting abiliities.
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Yes, I might not have been the greatest runner, but even then, I was a pretty good networker and was able to recruit some winning athletes. OK, I might have cost my team the championship in my senior year because I recruited a friend I knew I could beat consistently. Yeah, I should be ashamed of myself, and I am sure that somewhere up in Heaven, Jimmy Robinson is probably laughing at me because even he knew I could beat him.
Of course, Durham has a rich history in the Olympics with some great track athletes and basketball players coming from here, and the late Leroy Walker was a vital part of the Olympic movement. And, I will never forget attending a Pan African meet at Duke’s campus that was held in the early ’70s and which featured the legendary Kipchoge Keino running and had the U.S. beating the African team handily – and which also featured a stripper running across the field and just missing falling in the water obstacle for the steeplechase.
Yes, even at the young age of 9, track was of interest to me and I dreamed of my own greatness. ... Never came to realization but it was a fun dream.
And, even now there are folks training and dreaming of Olympic greatness. Who knows? Maybe there will be people we personally know in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, or maybe some of our friends and associates will be covering these amazing athletes. I know that I did not make it to Brazil for this year’s Olympics, but all of that coverage of this beautiful country as shown me that it is definitely on my list of to-visit places..
And, the Olympics also inspire me to want to go out and grab a tennis racket and maybe try to play a game or two, or do some running or get into a pickup volleyball or basketball game. And, not just be a couch potato watching the Olympics and other sporting events on TV. Don’t worry, I’m not ready to do like my brother and tackle ultimate running competitions that feature all kinds of obstacles and which caused him to get injured a couple of times though he did ultimately finish one of these contests.
Who knows? Maybe I will find a Meetup group that is about competing in volleyball, dodgeball, basketball, or other sports, or maybe in my 50s, I will get involved in one of these Senior Games that apparently are for those 50 or above. Even though in this day and time, I don’t consider 50s being a senior, but in athletics there are no doubts that it is. But the dream can live on in one form or fashion.
Marc Lee lives in Durham.