It’s now December which for me means my busiest time of year as a professional fundraiser and, since, I moved to Hawaii, marathon season. I’m the marathon coach at our school, and in the five years since a friend and I started out as the team, we’ve raised more than $10,000. We’ve grown to 15 participants this year.
Personally, I’m hoping to finish my 23rd marathon tomorrow, and, for my own self-esteem, two more the following weekend. I know that the dream of completing a 24th and 25th this year is selfish. It’s put stress on my family, not to mention my legs! I hope to pull back in the years ahead so I can be a better husband and father.
I also teach German and poetry at my school and sometimes offer my students pearls of wisdom which they usually receive with humor but also an earnestness that surprises me given they are teenagers!
When I do offer those pearls shaped by a middle-aged guy’s life experiences, I try to live by them. Otherwise, I think very bright and alert teenagers would see right through them!
So here are a few insights that nicely intersect with the latest group poem my students and I have drafted:
1) Stay upright — both in class (I see so many teenagers these days slumped over and I wonder if it’s because they have been on their phones all night), and during a marathon!
2) Choose wisely — whether it’s words or pace in a marathon, stay in your comfort zone while you are stretching for a little more.
3) Understand the path you are taking and adapt. No two poems and no two marathons are the same, even if as a poet you return to themes you’ve explored before or as a marathoner you go back to your favorite course.
4) Enjoy the unknown. As writers and athletes, we may have a good sense of how a poem and marathon may turn out, but we never really know until we finish!
This poem drafted in the picture above will get better this week when the students and I meet once more before Winter Break. I look forward to sharing the new version and letting readers know how our team made out in the marathon before I try for two more next Saturday and Sunday.