Butter Rum Cartoon

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST


I attended Burlington-Edison High School in Burlington WA through my freshman and sophomore years (1963-65) and had to take P.E. I hated P.E. I was body-shy and they forced me to take showers with other guys, to wear a jock-strap, and do all sorts of strange things. They made me wrestle on the floor, do sit-ups that made me have to roll out of bed the next morning, jump on a trampoline risking a broken neck, and, second-worst of all, go out and take part in sports without first telling me the rules of the games.

But by far the worst of all was the 440-yard, oval, running track. They made us run around this track until my side was killing me and my head swam. I was always last, huffing and puffing in sweaty pain, and needless to say I didn't get much respect in P.E.

One day we were going to race - 220 yards, halfway around the track - and I was tired of being belittled. I made up my mind that I was going to win this race. There was no doubt in my mind when we lined up that I would come in first on the other side. The whistle blew, and I took off. Behind me were the champions of the class. All sorts of hoots and hollers and voices could be heard somewhere back there, as I ran as if my life depended on staying ahead.

I won. While the others kids complimented me, congratulated me, or still found some reasons to tease me in their disgrace, all of them shocked and surprised that little Dale had come in first, I walked around holding my aching side, trying by best not to vomit.

After that day, I went back to being the last runner, huffing and puffing and hurting, but no more did anyone tease me or put me down, on the track at least.

Sometimes we just have to defend our own dignity. It needn't be a permanent change; it can take only a moment to set things right. I've known, ever since that day, that regardless of pain or frequent failure, if I had to...I could.

And it's a good thing to know.




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1 comment:

  1. Dale- an inspirational story, with a very clear message. Maybe others young kids might be motivated to over come their short-comings with this story.
    Wilfredo

    ReplyDelete