Saturday February 24, 2018

Sometimes, I predict the future.

Jose R. San Miguel and Julius

While attending the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in Mexico last week, I met Julius Rivera, a sprinter who lives in PA but who represents Puerto Rico.  Julius’ father used to hurdle at the University of Puerto Rico.  Julius was there to run the 100 and 200 meter races. He admitted that he intended to scratch the 200.

I challenged Julius to reconsider his position. What if you false start in the 100 mm? What if by some quirk in the rules of international competition you are disqualified?  It would be a long journey home if Julius did not completely maximize this opportunity. Under duress, he reluctantly agreed to compete in the 200 meters being contested on Saturday July 5.

On Friday morning while watching the pole vault, I saw Julius get into position for the men’s 100 mm race. I also saw him false start and get disqualified.

A few minutes later Julius walked by with his mom and dad, totally devastated. I reminded him of the great opportunity that awaited in the 200, and of my feeling that something big was going to happen.

Back at the hoteI, I committed to buy him a pizza if he set a PR in the 200 (the food at the hotel was not very good).  If he did not, he would have to sing a children’s song, in Spanish, in front of the team. Having grown up in PA, Julius’s Spanish is less than fluent.

On Saturday morning, I took the late bus to the stadium. Upon arriving, I learned that not only did Julius set a new PR, he also met the qualifying standard to compete at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon. This young man went from feeling intimidated by an event to making it to the greatest stage for a junior athlete.

I am proud of you Julius, for running the race of your life.


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Written by adele

Jose and Sofia San Miguel

We strap the pole bag to the top of the truck with bungees, double check the tape, sticky spray, spikes, jersey, water, snacks, gas money, ear phones and protein bars.  Poles for long approach, short approach, and the pole our athletes dream of grabbing after they have surmounted their personal record.

It’s go time. Time for the long rides and the opportunity to witness our athletes try once again to push themselves against a higher bar.  It’s time to show them they matter by strapping on a seat belt and slipping the car into gear.

We drive to support our children’s drive to beat last week’s height.   We review video, ring the cow bell, and start the clap on the third attempt.  We stand up and yell because we know the voice of our support is the thing they need most in the moment before takeoff.  We hold them through the disappointment.

We drive for the medals and we drive for the no heights.  We watch the speedometer click higher and higher.  We buy AAA.

It’s time to go.  Time for this sweet era of traveling alongside our children and helping them become more through sport.  We crisscross our home state and the one next to it, learning the landmarks and each other.  We wake up in the dark, return in the dark, handle our work from the car, and negotiate business from the stands.

Weekly, our kids try to improve.  Do we?  Do we launch ourselves with a new determination to move beyond limits in our work?  Do we push ourselves with the same courage and consistency?  Grab a larger pole and go for it?

This is what they do for us. Comfort zones are comfortable, but there is no growth there.   Our vaulters stretch their abilities and remind us to do the same.

What is your personal record, moms, dads, and coaches?  Your athlete is inspiring you to surpass it.

It is time.

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