Sunday, July 15, 2007

These men are my brothers...

Thirty years ago, I graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle. On July 14th, our class held its reunion at Jubilante Restaurant in downtown Renton.

The 1977 Franklin High School track team coached by Don Bundy finished its dual meet season undefeated, and won its third consecutive Seattle Metro League title on May 13th, scoring 100.5 points.

Of those sophomores on the track team at Franklin in the spring of 1975 (Franklin was grades 10-12 then), only three of us—myself, Kevin Turner, and Russell Real competed all three years.

Members of the Franklin HS class of 1977 that competed in track who attended the reunion on July 14th gather for a photo op--from left, Arthur Goldman, Richard Mitchell, myself, Kevin Turner, Joe Saunders, & Ben Wheeler. Also pictured is Kevin's son Nirun.

The men you see in the photo were the guys that battled hard for us week in and week out. These were the guys on our team who ran those nasty Monday 4 x 330 workouts on Franklin’s cinder track with a 5 minute recovery in 39 seconds or less (sprinters & jumpers); did the 12 to 20 x 440s in 70 seconds (depending on what part of the season we were in for us distance guys), with the stench of passing cars on Rainier Avenue mixed with the waft of the nearby fast food restaurants; lifted the weights, did the jump drills, etc.

One of the nice things about reunions are the opportunity to exchange information, embellish stories that may or may not have happened, and catch up on each other’s lives. Unfortunately, all of those stories, except for the one about me getting a superficial burn on my Achilles tendon (Ben Wheeler reminded me of that, of which I answered with an “oh, $hit—I forgot about that!) while sitting underneath a heat lamp in the training room will stay at Jubilante…it’s just like Vegas—what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

As I was one of the emcees for the event, I prefaced my portion of the program by expressing my appreciation for everything that Franklin has done for me, including the opportunity to stay in the sport today. I proudly held my Franklin track jersey and told my classmates that this jersey has traveled with me to meets around the world as a constant reminder that this is where it all started.

While we got together, Kevin Turner told us that he’s organizing a reunion of former Franklin HS track and cross country athletes which will be held on August 25th in Bellevue. If you’re a former Quaker, please contact me, and I’ll pass the info on to Kevin.

As I left Jubilante, I was reminded of two things: up the street from the restaurant is Renton High School, where we came out victorious in two nail-biting dual track meets in 1976 and 1977, each time winning the meet in the final event; and, a quote that coach Bundy always worked into the pre-season track team syllabus handed out to every prospective track athlete when I competed:

"Life's battle's don't always go to the strongest or fastest man. Sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can."

Those words still ring true, even in 2007.

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