Gettin’ His Digs In

My old high school pal and teammate, Gary Williams, loves to read these stories then get his digs in at me. I don’t mind, because in many of them, I expose myself to ridicule and “digs”. I’ve got nothing to hide—well, that ain’t quite true—so, I’ll lay most of it out there for the world to see.

Gary made a comment about my speed—or lack thereof—regarding my recent story, Ever Seen One of Those Up Close?, wherein I encountered a Gila monster, and was practically digging a hole with my feet trying to get out of there. The fact is, I was terribly slow, especially after the growth spurt I described in my previous story today, Growing Up Fast – Literally!.

When I was on the freshman baseball team, my dad used to tell me I was really slow; so slow, that from where he was watching—in the stands behind home plate—if I was “running” down the first base line, I appeared to be running in place. Then I got taller—way too fast—and I got even slower. The core of the problem turned out to be a combination of things.

One: I didn’t know how to run; I, quite obviously, wasn’t blessed with natural grace and inherent knowledge of the act. That was evidenced by the fact that when I self analyzed the problem, I noticed right away my stride was much too long, and as a result I was hitting heel first; in essence, I was stopping each time my foot hit the ground, and having to start again. Second: The aforementioned growth spurt; my legs had gotten longer almost overnight, and I was struggling to figure out what to do with all that extra length.

Right after we ran time trials for football, the fall I was to start my sophomore year (the summer after the growth spurt) I decided I had to do something. I was slow as molasses on a cold day, and my athletic career would soon end unless action was taken. I went to the library in search of a book which might assist me with the problem, and I found one titled, quite simply, How to Run. (I tried to find it on Amazon today, but no luck.)

The concept was pretty simple, and my discovering I was hitting heel first with every incredibly long stride, was, indeed, the basis of the problem. I taught myself to take shorter strides, and to have my striding foot be on the digging motion—pulling me forward—when it hit the ground. It made an amazing difference. I was not suddenly a speedster, but I wasn’t the slowest guy on the team anymore.

I continued to get faster after I graduated high school, and went from playing the positions on the baseball team where my lack of speed wouldn’t be an issue, to playing center field, where speed was a requirement.

Yes, Gary, you are correct when you say I wasn’t known for my speed. The fact is I wasn’t known for much; I was just one of the guys at B.U.H.S. I guess if anything, I was known for getting into trouble. But! You’d all be amazed at how much I didn’t get into trouble for. Keep reading these stories; I might tell you some of the good stuff. Gary just might be in some of them. Wouldn’t that be interesting?


  1. Sherry said

    Hard to imagine you not knowing how to run . . . I’ve always thought you had a natural athletic grace.

  2. Faye said

    I get such a kick out of reading you blog. You are such a hoot!

    • Thank you, Faye. I enjoy writing this stuff, but I’m glad you enjoy reading it, too!

  3. gary williams said

    Now take it easy on me. By the way who was faster you or Barry?

    • Awe shucks, now… you know I wouldn’t say nothing bad about ya…. at least not until I remember some really good stuff!
      I know Barry was at first, but I think I was later on. Not really sure though.

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