The mileage isn’t what matters here.
Yesterday was supposed to be my last one-mile run before ramping up to a run of 1.25 miles as I steadily progress…
But progress, or success, and even life itself, doesn’t always go in a straight line. Progress is not always forward. Sometimes, in order to go forward, we need to take a step back.
For this post, I’ll cover my last two runs. It’s basically the same story in so many ways.
Two days ago, on Tuesday, April 14, I went out for my second one mile run. This was the second time I would actually run the full one-mile distance. The run itself felt better than on Sunday, and my time indicated I did much better. I finished at 9:25. That was significantly faster than the effort on Sunday. I was pleased and proud.
Today was Day #2 of my running comeback.
My goal was to run a half mile without stopping. I measure all my runs in distance, not time, but my physical therapist wants me to run just in time increments. Her recommendation was for me to run for five minutes.
My goal was a half mile.
In the end, it was basically the same thing.
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.
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.
Well, I am the happiest 0-4 pitcher on the planet.
I pitched well enough, I guess. I gave up more than a few hard hit balls for loud hits, some of them long drives for extra bases. I also gave up some weak ground balls for hits. And a few bloopers also fell in.
On the other hand, some popups were dropped or missed altogether by the fielders behind me, a few grounders went under the infielders’ gloves, and a few would-be ground outs resulted in poor throws that instead netted no outs.
(And, to be fair, a couple of the loudly hit balls were caught by the fielders behind me. If nothing else, my pitching kept the team on its feet.)
In short, for much of the game, there were a lot of runners on the bases as I pitched.
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.
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.
Who cares about numbers?
Why do we have to reduce baseball to numbers? The numbers tell a story, but they don’t tell the whole story. Not nearly. Not at all.
I could give you the numbers, my stats, for the game I pitched, my first game pitched in thirty-four years, but they wouldn’t tell the whole story.
In fact, the numbers will obstruct; they will take away from all of it.