Yesterday morning, David and I went to Dr. Phillips Elementary School at the invitation of Betsy Riccardi, the wife of my coach Brooks Johnson. Betsy and I go waaay back. While Brooks was the head coach at Stanford while I was there, Betsy was actually my long jump coach. She saw me through the most trying of times to the most triumphant. From gaining too much weight, let's just say it was more than the freshman 15 (can you say junk in the trunk, with a capital J!), to losing the weight to being two-time NCAA champion. She and I would travel to meets, sometimes just the two of us and during that period of time we became more than coach and athlete, we became friends.
So last week when she called and asked whether David and I would be willing to come to her Elementary school to talk to a group of third graders, it was a done deal before she could even finish the question. We had a fantastic time! I hadn't spoken to that age group in quite a while, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Suffice to say, the experience superceded my expectations. The kids were really inquisitive and asked all kinds of questions.
Dave showed them how high the hurdle is that he runs over, I showed them how far my personal record is and they saw video of both us competing. They also did a presentation for us where they told us about the ancient Olympics and how it originated as war games - the javelin was used as a weapon, the long jump was so that the warriors could jump over moats that surrounded the castles, the shot put was used in the catapult, pole vaulting was used to get over surrounding walls, the marathon was so that information could be transported from one town to another. I learned something too, because I never knew all of this.
We signed quite a few autographs, ate lunch in the cafeteria and then had to escape, Michael Jackson style, in a rush because we started getting ambushed!! It was pretty funny. All in all, it was a good day. I didn't realize it at the time just how much energy kids require because when I got back home, I think I fell asleep on the couch within 5 minutes, LOL!
It was definitely my pleasure to help Betsy out in any way I could and should she ask again, next year or whenever, I would gladly render my services again.
I gave my best...
5 years ago