Monday, August 21, 2006


-At a very early age I liked to try to pick up heavy things. I think that was inspired in part by the song “Big Bad John”. I thought the song’s story was cool, still do, and that might be part of it. I used to pick up rocks the size of my head or bigger. I would get frustrated when I couldn’t and kept on trying. Weird.
-In elementary school, middle, high, and a little while in college I had asthma. I think what triggered it was the dirty environment I grew up in but I am not completely sure. Fortunately it was never officially diagnosed as such but I knew I had it and the doctor prescribed drugs for it even though it was never written down as such. Asthmatic is a label that can hurt you in areas where you are athletic and in some types of employment.
-When I was a kid I climbed trees. Lots of trees and not like other kids climb. I climbed to the tops to the point where the trees sway and are significantly taller that the two story house we lived in. I did it in part because it was there but I also did it because I was the only one there and wanted to see things a different way. At the time I didn’t know it though. I just did it. Looking back at the hours I spent this way I understand it. I didn’t realize I was exercising.
-I walked as a kid. A lot! I could spend 4-5 hours on the 100 acres and not know it. It was the pursuit of new things to see that kept me distracted. I would walk, look up at the trees, look down at the streams, turn over logs to see what was living there, play with random bugs, watch deer and other animals, but little did I realize I was exercising.
-I was skinnier than most kids my age and was laughed at when I went out for football and wrestling in high school. I never was in a competitive sport growing up until then. I ended up playing three years in high school and two years in college. Many of those laughing at the time are now in jail or hooked on drugs or dead. In my sophomore year of high school I started out at 160# and by the end of the year I weighed 210. At the beginning of my sophomore year I benched 150# and at the beginning of my senior year I benched 390#. I did realize I was exercising. Weights became a component of my living. You could always do more with it.
-Something key happened to my strength and sports development when I was a junior. I lost my dad the day after Thanksgiving that year. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. He died with unresolved issues between us and those issues stayed with me for well over a decade afterwards. In the newness of that pain my coping mechanism became weight training and anger and in my senior year of football I played far better than I probably would have.
-In the late Fall and early Spring of my Senior year several small colleges called me to consider playing for them. I ended up playing for Bluffton College. I actually had not considered college prior to the invitation as our counselors stunk and I was poor. Bluffton’s counselors were much better and showed me the well of grants and loans. The embarrassing thing is that I picked that school because it had several acres of woods on the campus. I gave no consideration to academic credentials and trivialized the capabilities of teachers my whole life. Why should college be any different? Fortunately it was for my sake. I learned more in college than 1st-12th combined.
-I have never taken well to anyone telling me I cannot do something. Consequently when I was younger I took a lot of stupid dares until I realized I was being manipulated. Other dares proved to be challenges that formed a great deal of who I am and how my life has turned out.


Anonymous said...

Well written

Becky, your sis said...

hey John, I feel like I am learning things about you I didn't know at all even though we grew up together.You don't mention you majored in English at Bluffton, but the quality of your writing shows your training...hugs, love ya! you are an awesome bro...Becky