”Come here, I want to show you something”

John walks me over to a bookshelf and pulls one of his kid’s books off of the self. He flips through the pages until he finds what he’s looking for.

“Here see this? That’s what you are.” John is pointing at a picture of a pig. “You’re a fucking pig”

“Fuck you” I respond. Pieces of Portland Coffee Cake falling from my mouth.

“Prove me wrong then you fat fuck.”

I wake with a start. I know what that dream was all about. I’ve been eating to much, not training properly. It has nothing to do with how I feel about John now. Its my mind’s way of telling me that I’m not reaching my potential. I’ve had this type of dream before, just with a different cast of characters. Sometimes it’s the lady, leaving me because I can’t get my shit together, sometimes its me, giving my self the verbal lashing I deserve.

In my journal the next day I’ll ask myself a question I’ve asked myself over and over again. Always the same.

Why am I so afraid of my potential? Why am I so afraid of reaching out and grabbing the life I deserve?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that I’m constantly falling short of what I want, and its not always because I’m overreaching. If I stick with something long enough the time will come where I sabotage myself. From time to time I wonder if everyone has this problem. That’s a wrong turn. What matters is  “What am I struggling with?”. I only have a shred of compassion for myself, I can only worry about me and those I hold dear.

That day my writing made me think about my high school track coach. Coach Vanuch is a big man, with a huge voice and an even bigger heart. At that point in my life the only people who believed in me more were my parents. Here’s the thing, I was far, very far from the best runner on the team.

After an indoor track workout during my Sophomore year (on of the many where I through up from the pain) Coach V stopped me on the steps.  I’m tired and there’s a nearly tennis ball sized lump on a little above my ankle. I’m not fast, but I’ve gotten used to running with the pain, and I never give up. I’m too young to realize how that matters.

Coach V stops just ahead of me on the steps, its just the two of us, everyone else is gone.

“You know what I’m going to call you Bobby?”

I thought I’d outgrown “Bobby” and I’m quick to correct anyone who tries, but somehow coming from Coach V it doesn’t bother me.

“I’m going call you bull dog. Once you get something in your teeth  you don’t let go. It doesn’t matter how much you’re hurting you don’t give up. I like that about you.”

“Thanks” is all I can stammer in reply.

Today I hope to find in myself what Coach Vanuch saw in me.

Lately I’ve fallen off the plot. I’ve found myself saying “I’ve done enough, I’ve put my work in. I couldn’t be more wrong. I’m only half way toward being able to achieve some of my goals, that’s no where near the end. Other are going to take some time. No matter the distance I’ve got to sink my teeth in and hold on tight.


4 thoughts on “

  1. Is this Coach Vanuch from Lakewood or Shawnee? Just curious, i had a Coach Vanuch when i was at Lakewood. Good Man

    1. Matt,
      It is. Vanuch was my coach during the years I ran track in Lakewood. I was there 94 through 98.

  2. WHat is your name? this is matt peters, i ran for vanuch from ’92 – ’95. i am rereading this post with mike glick and toby stoll who were also tracksters.

    1. Matt,
      My name is Robert Grunau. I ran track and cx between 94 , and 98.

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