SKATING OVER DIMES

Young scout
Young Cub Scout

 I have never been much of a joiner.  The only club I remember belonging to was the Cub Scouts, and that was only for a few weeks in third grade.  Seems all our den mother Mrs. Coulson wanted to do was take us over to Steinberg Rink in Forest Park to watch her son Billy ice skate while the rest of us just stood around sliding our neckerchief rings up and down over our tidy blue uniforms.

“Hey, Jimmy,” I said to a fellow rail hanger in week two. “You got any matches?”

Point being — as I heated up a dime to throw out onto the ice — I didn’t see any merit badges coming out of this except maybe for anger management or leg-splinting.  So after a few more hot-dime tosses trying to get Billy to trip and break something, I quit the scouts.

Thus when some people asked if they could put my name up for nomination to the Running USA board of directors last year (2010), my initial response was “of course not”.  Notwithstanding, through no fault nor campaigning of my own, I received a call during the holidays telling me that I’d been elected to the 17-person board.

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REMEMBERING CHELSEA

CHELSEA IN STRIDE
CHELSEA KING IN STRIDE

She was a runner, and like so many of her kindred spirits Chelsea King found freedom, joy, and life-affirming wisdom in the gritty hold of her sport. The wisdom didn’t come easy, it had to be mined most days of the week.  Which is what 17 year-old Chelsea was doing when she was attacked and killed one benign afternoon near her home in Rancho Bernardo Community Park February 25th 2010.

The news, first of her disappearance, and later of the discovery of her body in a shallow grave on March 2nd spread virally, for this was not just another Missing White Woman, that modern-day media syndrome which separates the haves from the care-nots.

“If this was someone in National City or Oceanside, there wouldn’t have been the same reaction,” was one cynical reaction I heard.

Notwithstanding, Chelsea King’s innocence seemed to radiate from the picture of her competing in her Poway High School cross country team uniform. Never a threat, runners often delude themselves into thinking that neither are they a target. Yet fully half the running population is just that if they put themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. (more…)

MARATHON BUBBLE?

     Once again a major American marathon has filled its field in record time. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced that it topped out at 45,000 in just 31 days.  This comes after new qualifying standards were announced for the 2012 and 2013 Boston Marathon after they blitzed through registration in a mere 8 hours last fall.

Even with the emphasis on self-directed healthcare, are we flirting with elements of the dot com and housing bubbles?  Is it possilbe we could see a radical downsizing of the market?  Just asking.  Besides, how long can it go on like this?

25-30 years ago you might have impressed somebody ‘s drunken uncle with tales of your marathon exploits.  Back there were only a handful of marathon finishers nationwide.  Gaunt men, generally, given to thick glasses and thin chests.  But now after an entire generation of baby boomers traded pharmacological zeal for endorphin overdosing, who, really, wants to slog alongside some flower-power hold over who’s wheezing like an aging cocker spaniel for 26 godforsaken miles? Where’s the Kevorkian aid station when you need it?

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FAILURE WORKS – The Blog Begins

The author
The author

Let me just say from the onset I have no agenda, nor any ax to grind. I seek neither credit nor blame for what exists, and profess neither infallibility nor rancor. And though I decry and bemoan like the rest, let it be known these are but the eyes of experience, nothing more.

*****

When the first chill winds began to haunt the eaves of the Beacon Street turret, and ragged-edged leaves tumbled down the cracked gray sidewalks like passing fragments of thought, I’d walk the few blocks up to Cleveland Circle for my morning rounds. Inside Eagles Cafe, I’d sit over a steaming cup of coffee and browse the morning Boston Globe as the Green Line trolley clattered toward town beneath the heavy, leaden clouds.  Sitting there I knew that the Circle would soon be footed with mounds of snow, and that walking would be reduced to a single, slippery lane.

It was routine these seasons in New England, their turning, my adjustments and moods.  But just as in my boyhood home in St. Louis, I never found in their rhythms the comfort, the true joys of winter – other than for them to be over.  Sure, I enjoyed a good hunker every now and again (who doesn’t?) but in this, my adopted city of Boston, the fierce nor’easter storms would howl for days at a time, leaching precious cheer from the hearts of the people.  (more…)