Mr. Good Track

Chapter 22, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

Being an ass was natural for Harry.

No pancakes for me. Just granola, and some orange and apple slices. If I were lucky, maybe a pear. And milk, lots of milk, with consequences I don’t need to tell you about. Yeeech.

In the 17 years since he last coached, Harry discovered what he thought were the benefits of alternative training. So we started with Tai Chi each morning. As you know, it’s all about the chi and not me.

“Tai Chi is an ancient, defensive art that every athlete should strive to perfect,” said Harry. “I regret not utilizing it sooner. It could have saved Wottle from himself.”

“Should I grow my hair and wear a golf cap, too?”


Harry wheeled his walker over and got in my face. Despite his recent acceptance of new methods, in many ways, he was still old school.

“Here, Sir, I do the teaching. You do the learning. I am the teacher. You are the student. Do we have an understanding, Charlie?”

I hated like hell being called Charlie, but I kept my mouth shut and nodded.

Then we practiced visualization. It taxed me mentally and emotionally. In other words, I was goofier than ever.

“Close your eyes. Focus. The starter’s gun rises, on your mark, BANG! You explode off the line. What do you see?”

“Darkness, Master.”

Harry rolled his walker over again, his nose stopping centimeters from mine.

“If you call me Master or Yoda, or even Hop-Sing one more time, I promise I will surgically remove your testicles and feed them to the pigeons. Do you comprehend, Sir?”

I nodded.

We practiced this malarkey until my mind melted. For the few minutes I got to run, I felt giddy. Harry had me jog a lap, maybe sprint the next, then visualize another until I achieved the Zen-like optimum he wanted. It was the same crap, over and over and …

“Stop, listen, feel your inner runner. What is he telling you? What does he want?”

Then …

“Sprint one circuit. Fast. Faster. Shed that tired, old skin.”

Then …

“Stop. Close your eyes. Feel your soul weep. Do not give in to those negative notions. Go ahead. DISMISS THEM.”

And …

“Jog another circuit. Nourish your inner runner with rich, positive energy.”

More …

“Circle the oval, again, again … ”

And …

“Center yourself. Rrreeaaacch down deep. Close your eyes. Visualize the process. Own the process.”

And …

“Lie face down on the track. Listen. Listen to the track. Smell. Smell the track. Taste. Taste the track.”


Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang