we ran together, Roger. (dedication)

So, just recently, Roger Bannister passed away. Notice that I didn't put a label in front of his name. He made his claim to fame as a track runner, the very first person to be clocked under four (4) minutes in a standard mile. He accomplished this ("The Miracle Mile") on 6 May 1954 while a student in medical school, taking up the course (neuroscience) that would later become his profession.

Running has lots of benefits, health and otherwise. The activity can be relieving; freeing your mind to think about nothing else but what is directly in front of you. I should know, I was a runner when I was a schoolboy. In fact, that's all I wanted to do with myself until I was about thirteen (13) years of age. Sprints were my thing; I was on my school's track team, specializing in the fifty-five (55) meter dash (indoors). I walk a lot now, but when I was really young, I did distance running. I never did come close to breaking the four-minute mark then, my best time was a little upwards (I mean, do we really need to delve into such things?🤐🤥). I was a student of the sport (track and field) big time when I was a kid. Roger Bannister was one of those people that I read about, admired, and tried to emulate (the other was Carl Lewis).

What they tell you when you're an athlete is that natural talent should be exploited. What they don't tell you is that you can't actually coach work ethic. It can be trained, conditioned, isolated, and honed (and that all sounds like coaching), but not nary a person can bring out the drive that makes another reach beyond what they usually are content with. That last ingredient is something called determination. The individual is going to do what they are going to do. A lot of people want something, but wanting something is a whole other thing than actually doing whatever it takes to acquire it. Mr. Bannister taught me that. His official time of 3:59.4 minutes, was a slithering hair under the milestone (pun intended), but it was enough. He did it! He forced himself - focusing on one stride after the other - to push beyond his comfort zone to achieve something that no one else at any point in human history can claim. That's determination.

Sometimes, when these athletes pass, I feel compelled to share my sentiments because I, too, feel like an athlete. I call myself a mathlete, and that may be my way of attempting to hold on to some past long gone (or not), but I do feel that with juking, I've created a sport in the sense that it's a game that I (and anyone can) play and improve the (personal) condition. There's a camaraderie there; and to paraphrase Nelson Mandela, one that I think only sports can give.

Anyhoot, thank you, Roger.




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