Today, Athletics Weekly came out with a list of what they considered the greatest Olympic Sprinters of all time. Reading the list brought a bit of a tear to my eye, as nostalgia set in and I was forced to remember the glory days of my short lived sprinting career.
I entered middle school track and field with a Herculean build. At a stammering, nearly unprecedented height of four feet ten inches, and the ability to crack off at least three pull ups on command, Coach Sonstegaard knew I was going to do big things. Because the Howard Lake Lakers didn’t have enough men or women to field a full varsity track squad, I was chosen as one of the lucky few who would get to run with the big dogs.
In my elementary school days I was a god when it came to track and field day. At the end of any given school year I would smear my grubby mitts on blue ribbons for events ranging from standing broad jump to the 100m dash. So when I entered seventh grade I was convinced that it was in my blood to become the next big thing in sprinting and jumping.
My seventh grade campaign was jaw dropping.
“Well look at him go,” I would hear people whisper from the infield, “good for him.” The murmuring would turn in to a dull roar as I approached the finish line and produced times like 15 seconds for 100m, or 38 seconds for 200m, and even 82 seconds for a full quarter mile. Look out world, Ryan Sterner just burst on to the scene.
My coach, being the merciful man that he was, never again allowed me to sprint, I'm assuming out of fear that the blows my blistering times dealt to other competitor’s morale would be too much for the developing athletes to handle.
With my sprinting career safely fading in the rearview mirror, I can only admire the likes of Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, Maurice Greene and Jim Hines—all men on the Athletics Weekly list—for accomplishing what I couldn’t: making one hell of a career out of sprinting.