It Can’t Be Done

These might be old stories, but they are all worth repeating because they speak to a common theme.

(For added enjoyment, follow the hyperlinks embedded in this post.)

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The year was 1954.  In athletics there was a sense that a human could not physically run faster than a four minute mile.  “It’s impossible,” many said.  Athlete after athlete trained and tried – and all fell short.  The four minute mile seemed to be an impassible barrier.

And then, on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister did it.  Bannister ran a sub-four minute mile!  He did something no human being had ever done before.  The impossible had occurred – like catching lightning in a bottle.  Many thought that Bannister’s feat was fluke, a one-in-a-million occurrence.

Six weeks later, an Australian, John Landy, bested Roger Bannister’s time.

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Just Start Writing

Recently I ran into one of my biggest fears. The week was drawing to a close and I did not have any thoughts or new material for a weekly passage that I write for teachers. (Those weekly passages helped give birth to this blog.)

I am a believer in a theory I termed, “Just Start Writing.”  I find that when I start to put words to the page, my creative juices start to flow, the blank page disappears, and a passage (at least in rough draft form) is completed.

What follows is a reflection that I originally wrote for teachers, but I believe the bigger message can be applied for all.

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Putting My Cards on the Table

I was recently at a holiday party that included an enjoyable grab bag/gift giving activity.  There were tea cups, candles, candies, some gift certificates…and the greatest wine rack ever.  Really.  (Sometimes you just have to grab the big ugly box.)

But, most of all, there were baseball cards.  Four packs of baseball cards from 1985 and 1986…

When I was a kid, baseball cards were an important part of my life.  I, of course, collected them, but it was more than that.  I read them.  I studied them.  I memorized them.  I played with them.  I invented games with them.  I also sorted them – time and again by player, by team, by season, by card number, and in many other ways and then back again.  (Might this be where I developed some tendencies to keep things in order?)

I had my baseball cards in boxes, wrapped with rubber bands, and later in plastic sheets.  I loved my baseball cards.

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Newton, Autographs, and the Teacher

My son sent me an e-mail from Williams College the other day. In the message, he shared that he went to the Rare Books Library on campus and took out a copy of Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica written by Sir Isaac Newton. This is the text in which Newton came up with his laws of motion and gravity, the orbits of the planets, and so much more. This edition was from the 1700’s. My son was amazed to have this famous work in his hands. It may have been an original copy. I imagine he was awe-struck .

I would have been.

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