It Couldn’t Be Done
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.
People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
Love to Run
Chapter 14 ~ Don’t Hold Back
The regional cross-country race was held this year at Westover a one hour ride from Claymont. Lisa sat with Mia across from Marie and Leah on the bus ride. They spoke of their race strategy, the talked about their teachers, and they talked about the Stinson runners.
When they arrived at the Westover course, it was a typical November day, cold, the temperature was forty-one degrees with a wind chill of twenty-five degrees caused by the brisk breeze out of the Northwest. The runners all wore their blue and gold sweatsuits. When Lisa stepped off the bus, she looked around, the leaves were all off the trees, and there were at least six teams warming up. The Stinson team was stretching and their coach looked over toward the Jaguars and said something to her team. The Stinson team stopped stretching and stood and watched the Jaguars walk across the parking lot to a large field where the race was scheduled to start. Lisa felt the cold wind, gave an involuntary shiver, and pulled her hood over her head.
Once on the field, the Jaguars began their warmup routine. Coach Kappa walked among the runners. She was making sure they stretched properly. She was taking no chances any of the Jaguars would pull a hamstring or quad that might keep them out of the states. The runners’ position for the regionals was determined by lottery. The start for regionals was different than the start for the League championship. All the runners were placed in corral. There were 20 runners across each line in the corral. Lisa drew number 114. That meant she’d be in the sixth row. None of her Jaguar teammates drew a starting place in the first four rows.
Two minutes before the starter called the runners to enter the corral, Coach Kappa called the team together. Coach Kappa said, “Listen up, we didn’t get the draw we wanted. We got what we got and you’ll all do great. Watch out at the start. Regardless of the cautions from the starter, there will be pushing and shoving. Don’t you do it. Someone shoves you, let your feet do the talking when you beat them to the finish line. We have two goals today. One, we want to win the regionals. And, two, I want you all to qualify for states. Don’t hold back. You have two races left. Lisa, can I share your mantra with the team?”
Lisa nodded yes.
Coach Kappa said, “Thank you. Lisa told me this is the mantra she says to herself during each race, use it today, “Give it all you’ve got.” Let’s go team.”
The Jaguar girls cheered and headed for the corral to line up. Once the starter sounded the horn to begin the race it course took the runners across a wide field to a road in the park, it continued along the road for a hundred yards before entering a wooded area. The path through the wooded area was wide enough for four people. If you didn’t get to the woods early, a runner could be blocked out by the crowd. Lisa stood next to runne rs from Claymont and Edgewater. She saw four Stinson runners in the first three rows. Lisa closed her eyes for a moment to get focused. She concentrated on sprinting the first six hundred yards. She was ready for the race.
The starter’s air horn went off, the runners looked like a swarm of birds flying out of the corral and sprinting across the field to the road. There was bumping, shoving, and a few elbows tossed here and there. Lisa caught an elbow on her arm, it hurt for a moment, but she kept her focus on breaking through the large pack. Fortunately, no one was knocked down at the start.
Fifty yards from the tree line Lisa spotted Mia and Marie leading the pack. Lisa was twenty yards behind the leaders. Fifteen runners separated her from Mia and Marie. She passed five runners before she entered the woods. When she entered the woods, she lost sight of Mia and Marie who separated themselves from the pack. A group of four Stinson runners were in front of her, running four abreast blocking blocking any chance Lisa had to pass and gain ground on Mia and Marie.
“Open up, I want to pass,” Lisa hollered to the Stinson runners.
The Stinson runners acted as if they didn’t hear her. Lisa hollered again. Again, the Stinson runners ignored her. Lisa settled into a pace three steps behind the Stinson runners hoping she might get a chance to break through. She remember that Nicole told her about a time when the same thing happened to her. She said if it ever happened, don’t lose control, be patient, they’ll slip up. Be ready to scoot through fast before they react. Lisa remembered Nicole’s advice and keeping her cool and waiting for her chance.
She hoped it would come soon.
Nicole saw one of the runners look over her should and check on her. The Stinson runner turned back and said something to the other Stinson runners. Lisa quietly moved closer. She saw a turn to the left coming up. She thought this might be her chance. The Stinson runner on the far right, dropped back a half of a stride as they entered the turn leaving a small opening. Lisa sprinted into the small opening between the two Stinson runners, passing them before they could react. When the Stinson runners reacted and tried to catch her, it was too late. Their efforts were in vain.
Lisa knew she had to make up time. The Stinson runners caused her to throw out her race strategy. She picked up her pace, running faster than she ever had during the last mile and a quarter of her previous races. At the two mile mark she still didn’t see Mia or Marie. Lisa kept chanting to herself, ‘Give it all you’ve got. Give it all you’ve got. Come on, you can do this. Give it all you’ve got. When she was within the final six hundred yards,
She spotted Mia and Marie fifty yards ahead. There were three other runners trailing them. She heard Coach Kappa holler, “Come on Lisa sprint. Sprint. Push it Lisa. You can catch them.”
Lisa closed her eyes for a brief second and willed her legs to give more. She pumped her arms and lengthened her stride. at the quarter mile mark she passed a runner from Westlake. With two-twenty yards she caught the number one Stinson runner. They matched stride for stride.
The Stinson runner glanced to her left at Lisa and said, “You’ll never beat me, shrimp.”
The Stinson runner pulled a half stride ahead. Lisa said to herself, ‘Don’t hold anything back. Lay it on the line. Give it all you’ve got. You’ve got this.”
She caught the Stinson runner with fifty yards to go. The crowd at the finish line was screaming. It sounded like a huge roar to Lisa. She had no idea who they were cheering. In a sudden burst, Lisa edged a half stride ahead of the Stinson runner crossing the finish line and collapsing into into the waiting arms of Mia and Marie who held her up.
“You finished fourth Lisa. Fourth! Can you believe it? You beat the number one Stinson runner,” Mia said as she and Marie walked Lisa until Lisa’s regained her strength. The girls went back and waited near the finish line for the next two Jaguars to cross the finish line. They counted off finishers. Leah and Sara came through at fifteen and seventeen. The Jaguars’ first five runners would have the lowest team score assuring them of their fifth consecutive regional cross-country team victory.
On the ride home, Coach Kappa congratulated the team on their victory at the regionals and edging out their rivals from Stinson. She told the runners to take Sunday off and be ready to prepare for states. The Jaguars qualified ten runners for the state championship. Lisa silently vowed she wouldn’t get boxed in at states.
Love to Run
Chapter 13 ~ Focus, Focus, Focus
The state cross-country championship was open competition. Runners from every high school in the state could compete. There was no division based on the size of the school. Runners first competed in the regional cross-country races to qualify to run in the state-wide championship. Nickerson High School, the Jaguars, was located in the South Regional District. Most of the teams that won the state cross country championships came from either the southern or western regional sections.
Monday, after the league championship the Jaguar runners entered the locker room at the end of the school day and were greeted by a bulletin board filled with newspaper clippings showing the times and names of the Jaguars’ biggest threat. Every newspaper clipping posted by Coach Kappa was about the Stinson High School runners. Their co-captains told a reporter this was the year they were going to win and defeat Nickerson High School.”
Coach Kappa gathered the team together in the locker room. She said, “There are new guidelines for qualifying for the state championship this year. Each of the regional districts is having a record number of runners competing. Because of the high number of entrants in each of the regionals, the state committee is only selecting runners meeting the minimum time they set to qualify to run at states. The more runners who meet the qualifying time, the better our chances to repeat and with our fifth championship. We need at least five to have a chance to repeat as state champions, I want all fifteen of you to qualify. I’m asking a question. I want you to shout out the answer. What are we going to do this week and next?”
The team in one voice hollered, “Work hard. Focus, focus, and focus.”
Coach Kappa said, “I hear you, but I don’t feel it. It’s not loud enough. It’s not coming from your heart. What are we going to do?”
Mia, Marie, Leah, and Lisa stood up, the rest of the team followed their example. Together, the entire team shouted loud enough to get a dog barking across the street from the school gymnasium, “Work hard, focus, focus, and focus!”
Coach Kappa said, “That’s the spirit. Let’s stay focused. Today we’re working on speed drills, tomorrow’s distance. Speed drills the next day, on Thursday, we’ll do five mile run on a hilly course, then Friday is our rest day. No parties. No late nights. I posted a list of the foods to eat that will give you the energy and stamina you need for the races.”
The Jaguars followed worked hard. They focused, focused, and focused. Lisa looked forward to Friday before regionals. It was a day of rest and recovery, that’s what Coach Kappa called it. It was also a teacher workshop day.
Friday morning, Lisa’s mom and dad let her sleep in. When she woke, She showered and dressed and went into the kitchen. Lisa walked to the refrigerator and saw notes her dad and mom posted to her on the refrigerator door.
Her dad’s note read:
Remember to take it easy. Catch up on your school work. Stay away from thinking or going online to check on the regionals. Do some fun things. See you at dinner. Love, Dad
Lisa was happy she had no tests next week. She’d get her homework out of the way so she could enjoy Sunday, then she’d play video games. She hadn’t done that for a while.
She read her mom’s note:
Hot oatmeal is in the small crockpot. Raisins and nuts in the top left shelf next to the energy bars you like. The top shelf has all the foods Coach Kappa put on the list. Even Dad’s not allowed to touch the shelf. See you around five. Love, Mom
Lisa loved her mom and dad. She knew they loved her. They treated her no different than Nicole. She knew she was one of the lucky ones, especially when she listened to some of the kids at school complain about their parents.
She took her time eating her breakfast. While she ate she had her iPad next to her. Her dad’s note said to not go online and check out the regionals. It didn’t say anything about the Thanksgiving Turkey Day Marathon. She decided she could tell her dad the truth and say she didn’t go online to read about the regionals. She felt better and then typed in http://www.thanksgivingdayturkeymarathon26.2.com.
She quickly connected to the website. She scrolled through photos of last year’s race. She scanned through the times of women finishers. Her eye caught a link on the right hand side of the page that read: Age categories. She clicked on the link. She eyeballed the youngest category for awards, ages 12 to 16. She made up her mind she was going to win it. She organized her training for the marathon in her mind. She’d keep her word to Coach Kappa and the team. But, on the day after the state championships, she was going to train hard for three days in preparation for the marathon. She was going to make Nicole proud.
Love to Run ~ A Story of Two Sisters
Chapter 5 ~ She’s A Natural
Coach Kappa parked on Lawson Street, a short distance from the bridge. She got out of her car and walked to where she had a view of the river trail, but remained unseen by anyone on the trail. She looked west toward the running trail on the East side of the river. Coach Kappa saw three bicycle riders, riding single file on the west side of the river. The second and third riders were drafting of the the lead rider. Coach Kappa thought they were trying for a PR. She saw a woman walking a Brittany on the east toward the direction she expected to see Lisa. The Brittany was tugging at the leash and pulling the woman onto the grass. Two early morning joggers came into view, they were running at easy pace talking with each other. They skirted around the woman with the Brittany.
Coach Kappa waited. Five minutes later, she caught sight of Lisa. Coach Kappa looked at her watch, smiled and then looked back to Lisa. It was a bit over a mile from where Lisa entered the trail to where Coach Kappa spotted her. She studied Lisa’s form. Lisa was running effortless, her arms swinging in perfect form and rhythm. If Coach Kappa didn’t know the difference, she would have thought she was looking at a shorter version of Nicole. Coach Kappa had a gut feeling Lisa was a natural. Her job was to help Lisa reach her potential.
Lisa didn’t see Coach Kappa watching her. Everything changed for Lisa after Coach showed her the text message from Nicole. She felt something inside her change when she left Coach Kappa and headed toward the river trail. She remembered her first three strides on the river trail where she repeated Nicole’s words, ‘Make me proud.’ She kept repeating the words with each stride. It wasn’t long before she forgot about Nicole leaving for college and only thought of running to make Nicole proud of her. She couldn’t wait to text Nicole and tell her about her run.
The Lawson Avenue bridge was the half-way mark where Lisa left the river trail and began her loop toward home. When she reached the bridge, she bounded up the steps, two at a time, to the road. She turned left on Lawson and headed for the high school athletic fields a mile and half away.
Coach Kappa anticipated Lisa’s route, it was Nicole’s favorite early morning run. She often told Coach Kappa about it. Coach Kappa got in her car, and drove over to Maple Street, just down from the entrance to the faculty parking lot, but with a good view of the athletic field. She got out of her car and walked a short distance to where she could get a view of where she expected Lisa to come out of the high school athletic fields and head home. It wasn’t long before Coach Kappa saw Law come through the far gate near the softball field and begin her run around the perimeter of the field.
Coach Kappa watched Lisa glide along on the back side of the field following the fenced in boundary. Lisa came up the west side of the field behind the football stands and passed through the gate near the teachers’ parking lot behind the high school. She crossed through the parking lot, and took a right onto the high school driveway. She turned out of the driveway onto Maple Street. Coach Kappa stood next to a large maple tree on the opposite side of the road out of Lisa’s view. When Coach Kappa caught sight of Lisa, she looked at her watch and absentmindedly nodded approvingly.
Today’s Quote by Samuel Beckett on Never Giving Up
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
Today’s Quote by Vaclav Havel on Hope
I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure that everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart. Hope is the feeling that life and work have a meaning. You either have it or you don’t, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you. Life without hope is an empty, boring, and useless life. I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me. I am thankful to God for this gift. It is as big as life itself. ~ Vaclav Havel
Walkers With The Dawn
by Langston Hughes
Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning,
We are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom,
Being walkers with the sun and morning.
Today’s Quote on Life’s Challenges by Celine Dion
Life imposes things on you that you can’t control, but you still have the choice of how you’re going to live through this.