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Faster, Mr Clark

When I feel embarassed is when I start to complain, I think.

In school, I was younger than everyone in my grade — I thank my parents for getting me into school earlier, but it did make me “smaller”.  nearly-last chosen for sports, last in many competitions, it was not until taking Karate in my last few years of school that I got any sense of being functional.

I’m still not allowed to run, jump, catch, or throw.  It’s unsafe for those around me.

Yeah, I’m clumsy.  Karate makes me “clumsy except in Karate things”.  Dance makes me “not so clumsy while dancing”.

I remember I used to complain while hiking (still do?).  It’s right where I start to feel inadequate that every little gear problem, rubbing pack, sweaty spot gets up my ire.

For me, having the right gear is simply removing complaints from the ordeal.  I do like the feeling, but I don’t like the feeling of having complained, sucking the joy from those around me.

I remember Basic Training: “Faster, Mr Clark, show some effort” (this while I know the hurl is coming: clammy cool cheeks, flushed look, bit dizzy, the bright-flashing-buffalo is making an appearance).  I simply could not excel.

Hiking in the Delaware Water-gap, I had been working out my legs considerably (squats and presses) but my lungs couldn’t keep up.  I remember the bright-flashes, and remember from Basic Training that when I get to 4 or 5 flashes per blink, the crash is coming, so I stopped.  She ridicules me to this day, but you know: I wasn’t complaining, I felt like my quads were singing, charging up the mountain at a crazy pace.  It was beautiful, and I think that’s what sports people feel like.

I remember “bagging 4ks” with Erick, and I remember that I was a bit bitchy.  Near the end, the gear was jelling with me, and my stubbornness kicked in: we had decided on those peaks, and I was going to do them, I just had to push a bit harder considering the way the light was fading.  With crampons in the snow, the charge up a 45-degree slope for “Avalon Peak” was beautiful.  A song in my legs, my very good friend at my back with his endless good mood.

My red/yellow hat holds those memories.  I just with there wasn’t complaining that day.

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