Chapter 28, Blog 2
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
I pondered the question. What superstitions did I have? What could I do before a race to help put my mind at ease? Did I do anything special before races in high school?
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Are you telling me you are not superstitious? You have nothing to help place yourself in a higher zone of comfort? Nothing we could incorporate into a pre-race routine.”
“I don’t even have a rabbit’s foot.”
“Are you sure? Nothing?”
“Nope. Nada. Ask Melinda,” I said. “She’s the superstitious one.”
“Could you borrow something from her?”
“Well, she does have this one bra she considers lucky,” I said.
“What about Shannon or Jessie?”
Growing frustrated, Harry rubbed his forehead.
“How can this be?”
“I don’t know. I’m new at this.”
“You baby boneheads,” said Harry with mounting disdain. “You have no imagination.”
“OK, coach, tell me. What would you do?”
With the question, Harry calmed. He smiled.
“When I was just getting started, I had this one sprinter. Man, oh man, he was one for the books. He had to take a bubble bath the night before every race. The head case would make so many bubbles that the tub would overflow. Get the picture?”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“He would sit in that tub full of bubbles and stick his feet up around the faucet, see? And then he would talk to them,” said Harry, starting to tilt on his walker.
“He’d talk to his feet?” I asked.
“Yes, his damned feet,” said Harry. “He would act like their coach. That is because I always declined to address them. Anyway, he would give them a pep talk or instructions, tell them what to do depending on how the race developed. It was the strangest thing you ever saw.”
I shook my head.
“Nah, I couldn’t do anything like that,” I said.
My coach appeared defeated, almost distraught, as if I had said I couldn’t tie my shoe.
… go ahead, tell him …
“Is there anything that would jack you up before a race? A song? A Biblical passage? Naked women? Anything?”
I thought again.
“The only thing I can think of …”
Hope rushed back into his eyes.
“I-I, uh, I, well, I did have a, uh, a dog scare the piss out of me that one time.”
“Dog? I thought that was pure fiction for the news media.”
“No, he was real. My heart pumped so fast, I thought it would throw a rod.”
“What kind of dog?”
I could hear the wheels grind.
“German shepherd, I think. I didn’t ask for his papers. It still makes my heart go into spasms.”
Harry stood, lost in thought, rocking back and forth slowly in his walker.
“You didn’t make that up for your girlfriend?”
“That was over in high school, Harry.”
“Dog. Hmmm. We will have to work on that.”
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang