A ‘Strong willed child’

If you were to ask my mother what I was like as a child, she will politely and diplomatically inform you that I was a ‘strong willed’ child. Note that she will probably be chuckling as she says this. Call it like I see it; I was a hyper-active kid who would not listen to authority. My grades were good, I rarely got into fights, and I did not break the law, but I definitely marched to a different drummer. My parents needed me to find a constructive outlet for my ‘high energy’, so they signed me up for youth soccer. Humorous side note, the league ‘requested’ my father become an assistant coach in order for me to play. My dad had no clue what soccer was about, much less how to coach it.

My very first year of soccer, at age 8, my coach told the team that we were required to run at least a mile every day and two miles every other day outside of practice. So my dad made sure I got out the door and ran my miles. After just a few days of this, I was out the door without any urging. Over the next 45 years, those runs have progressed from a single mile to training runs of as much as 25 miles. Even as I write this, I’m mentally mapping todays route.

Sure, I’m slower now and can’t run the distances I used to cover, but it’s my sanity time. As the pressures mount from COVID-19, racial tensions, casino closure and reopening, national unemployment, grad school, and my children preparing to graduate from college, I need to maintain my balance and perspective. I’ve had employees approach me and say “Boss- get your running shoes and get outta here for a while.” For me, running does the trick. As my mother would say, ‘go find something constructive to do with your energy’.

For me, running is that outlet that helps me maintain my sanity. My friend and employee Bill writes fiction. ‘When I’m writing stories, I can get lost in my own thoughts. It helps me focus. Sometimes I get it published, but usually its just for me’. For my brother, it’s oil painting. An award-winning painter, he is happiest with a brush and a blank canvas in front of him. And what visions he can produce.

In closing, I ask you this; what do you do that keeps you focused on life? We all have that one thing and we all need to keep at it. How else will we cope with the pressures around us? Forgot what it was? Go find a soccer ball.

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