Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 22)

Progress.

That’s the word.  Progress.

Two steps forward. 

I am hoping there are no steps backward as I continue to build strength in my comeback to running following Achilles surgery in January.  I will hopefully get strong enough to run the New York City Marathon in November.

A few thoughts on all of this before I share the updates on my progress.

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 22)”

Teachers Affect Eternity…

I have told this story before, but it is one I love to tell.  It needs telling, as well. 

Especially in these times.

One of the most wonderful ministers of all-time, a pastor who preached from the heart, made church interesting, and even made God accessible, had moved on from our church.

There was an emptiness.  I felt it deeply.  The minister who had left was a man I admired greatly.  I was thrilled that he had been the man who married my wife and I.  We all missed him greatly…

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The Road Back To 26.2 Began Today…

Twelve weeks ago I arrived at the surgery center, walking in, knowing that I wouldn’t be walking out, and, in fact, that I wouldn’t be walking at all for quite some time.  

When I checked into the surgery center, I told the receptionist that I was there to begin my training for the 2020 New York City Marathon.  She smiled and said, “You must be Mr. Semendinger.”

Indeed I am.  

I hobbled out of the surgery center on crutches my foot wrapped and in a heavy boot.  The surgery was a success.  

Continue reading “The Road Back To 26.2 Began Today…”

My 2020 NYC Marathon Training Began Yesterday (but not how you might think…)

I woke up yesterday and enjoyed walking around my house doing tasks that I knew I wouldn’t get to do again for a number of weeks.

These tasks including exciting things like walking up and down the stairs, opening the refrigerator and grabbing items, standing at my computer, and taking a shower… things like that.  Simple things.  Things we often take for granted.

Continue reading “My 2020 NYC Marathon Training Began Yesterday (but not how you might think…)”

Hey, It’s About YOU!

The Beatles song Hey Jude was in my head as I prepared to write my Weekly Memo to the teachers at the school where I serve as the principal. 

As I started humming the melody and quietly singing that song to myself, I quickly realized that there is a great deal within the lyrics that delivers an important message.  I quickly scrapped the original idea I had for the memo and began writing about this epic Beatles tune…

Let’s take a quick look at the messages that I took from one of the Beatles’ most famous songs:

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better…

If that’s not one of the biggest lessons in life, I don’t know what is. 

The message here is simple – Don’t make it bad.  Just don’t.  The world, life itself, is often filled with bad things, hurtful things, sad things…  Each day (and sometimes it really is each day) we’re faced with things that upset us, things that hurt us, things that frustrate and annoy us.  That’s life.  It is what it is. Continue reading “Hey, It’s About YOU!”

12 Miles Closer…

Today I bit off way more than I could chew.

I was fortunate, all three of my sons were home to celebrate a birthday, and two of them, Ryan and Ethan, are training for some upcoming long races.  Because of that, they were both willing to slog along on a twelve mile “run” with me.

Our goal was to complete the entire Saddle River Bike Path, from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park, and then back again…a twelve mile jaunt.

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound

It had been over a month since I last pitched.

On June 23, I enjoyed pitching against Jersey City. Then, on June 25, I had my first visit with an orthopedist who did as I feared he would… he shut me down.

On June 25, my baseball season ended. On June 25, my softball seasons ended. And, on June 25, my hopes for running the 2019 New York City Marathon also ended.

The orthopedist looked at my swollen right ankle, the MRI that showed tears in the Achilles tendon, and his own X-Rays. He said, “This isn’t good, Paul.” The word “surgery” came up, but he also said, “I’m not ready to go there yet.” I think the thing that made him shut me down totally was when I could perform a simple exercise in his office – standing on just my right foot and going to “tippy toes.” When I couldn’t do that, it cinched the deal.

I was given a night brace, an anti-inflammatory prescription, and little hope.

I left the office with the brace, a discouraged countenance, and a follow-up appointment.

But all of that is old news.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound”

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 13) – The Doctor, The Bench, and an All-Star

This is the story I didn’t want to write…

***

Two days after I pitched on June 23, I had my first appointment with the orthopedist.  This doctor is very well known and very respected.  He took X-Rays, put me through a battery of small tests, he examined my legs, took careful note of my right Achilles, and, after all of that, said that my baseball season, my softball season, and my running season are all over.

I knew this was coming.

We all knew this was coming.

I just didn’t want to hear it.

I still don’t.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 13) – The Doctor, The Bench, and an All-Star”

“Graduation” Speech – 2019

Often times after I give my fifth grade “graduation” speech at the end of the school year, some parents and others ask for a copy of my words.  In addition to sharing me speech with them, I figured that I would also share them here.

***

Moving Up Ceremony 2019

And so we come to the end…  I don’t like this moment, because I don’t like to say goodbye. 

A number of parents, moms mostly, but a few dads as well, have asked that I don’t make them cry today.  I can’t promise that because I might cry myself. 

So, let’s not make it goodbye. 

***

This is a great class of students – dear to my heart.  I have spent a lot of time with these students, especially this year, talking with them about so much. 

I want you know something very important at the start.  This is a special, a super special, group of students.  This class has been complimented time and again for their kindness, respect, calmness, understanding and more.  They’ve been praised more than most – maybe more than any other class. 

These are really good kids. 

I am very proud of them. 

I know you are as well.

As parents, you did well.  Very well.  (Apples, most often, don’t fall far from trees.)

And, I’d like to think that as educators, we also did well.

I’d like to share some big ideas that we all talked about over the years, one last time, with the hopes that the students will remember these ideas always – to find success in life.

First – Success isn’t what we get or end up with.  Success is something deeper, something that comes from hard work, perseverance, and kindness.

We become successful when we focus first on being good people – supportive, loving, and understanding. 

When we know how to appreciate and empathize and care, we find success.

Continue reading ““Graduation” Speech – 2019″

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 11 – Game Three)

The week leading to my third start was rainy and filled with more evening responsibilities that interrupted my throwing program, but, like in previous weeks, I was able to have a very special catch with a very special person.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 11 – Game Three)”