Many many years ago, when I was in high school, I could run. Fast. As a freshman, I was already a veteran at varsity track and had won medals at the state track meet during the past two years. That season, our regional track meet was held in miserable weather conditions and even though I won the 800 meter event, my time wasn’t fast enough to put me into the ‘fast’ heat at the state track meet (the top eight qualifiers). There were no finals in the 800. You ran in your heat and you stood on the one time you posted.
I will never forget that race.
I took off and never looked back. I even remember the guy who monitored the curves saying to me “slow down, you have a big lead”.
I ran faster.
Several teammates, coaches, and I huddled near the finish line as the fast heat took the track. As they rounded the curve and headed into the homestretch, it was a dog fight. There were several runners fighting to be the leader of the pack. They were pushing hard.
We had our stopwatches out and counted down as they neared the finish line... 5-4-3-2-1...
As my teammates counted down to “0”, I stared at the runners. They were several yards away from the finish line. They were battling hard against each other, but they forgot about the kid from the first heat. The one who was told to “slow down”. My time held up and I won the state championship out of the slow heat.
It wasn’t until the medal ceremony that the other runners figured it out. They hadn’t even compared their times to mine. The winner of the “fast” heat was stunned when they handed her the card for the silver medal.
I had taken everyone by surprise, but I wasn’t overlooked the next year. As a sophomore, I was in the fast heat at the state track meet. Not only was I in the fast heat, but I was the top qualifier and earned the premium lane assignment.
I decided not to take anything for chance and ran the same way I did the year before. I took off and never looked back.
I won my second state championship by a wide margin but had sprinted toward the finish as though the devil himself were on my heels. A reporter walked with me as I cooled down and asked some questions, one of which alluded to why I thought I needed to sprint so hard (remember, this was my second race out of six over the two-day state meet). My reply was somewhere along the lines of “I thought someone was closing in, but I guess it was a ghost”.
The headline of the sports section in one paper the next day was “Heemstra Chases Ghosts In the 800”.
The articles I clipped below are what reminded me of that story. In the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, another stigma that is slowly being overcome is talking about mental illness. This hasn’t gotten as much attention as the movement to speak up about sexual harassment/assault, but it is equally important in my mind. My track story has nothing to do with mental health, but it is fairly emblematic of the struggle I’ve watched in people affected by depression or other mental illnesses. No matter how good things appear on the surface, some people are dealing with nagging doubts, “ghosts” if you will, that make everything they do much harder.
Running from a Ghost | by Keyon Dooling
It was my second day in the mental institution, and I was suffering from paranoid delusions. All of a sudden, the nurse came into my room and told me that I had a visitor ... It was Doc Rivers.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma is only pretending to be okay
Geno Auriemma judges his teams and his career against an unattainable ideal. Wright Thompson rides shotgun with the Huskies as they go for title No. 12 and discovers the coach's lone enemy: Auriemma himself.
Labriola Takes Runner-Up Honors at Junior Nationals - Huskers.com - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site
Nebraska redshirt freshman Mikey Labriola finished second at 79 kg, while redshirt sophomore Beau Breske took third at the same weight class at the Marine Corps UWW Men's Freestyle Junior Nationals at South Point Arena.
Huskers add high-scoring guard
University of Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles announced Monday morning that Dachon Burke has joined the Husker basketball program after transferring from Robert Morris.
Wisconsin takes first-ever series from Nebraska in dominant sweep | The Daily Cardinal
Where has this been all year?
With the postseason right around the corner, Wisconsin softball (9-8 Big Ten, 25-19 overall) churned out their best series of the season, stunning Nebraska (8-11, 30-20) with a three-game sweep in Lincoln.
John Cook explains Husker philosophy at Kearney luncheon | Local | kearneyhub.com
KEARNEY – John Cook made a promise to himself in high school that he’d eventually write a book. After becoming the head volleyball coach at Nebraska in 2000, Cook developed
Huskers add All-American Moisey as transfer
Two-time All-American and 2015 NCAA runner-up Zeke Moisey will join the Nebraska wrestling program as a graduate transfer, NU Head Coach Mark Manning announced Monday.
Around the Wide World of Sports
The Orioles 21-game losing streak in 1988 will never be matched - SBNation.com
And why it will never happen again.
Justify: What to know about the 2018 Kentucky Derby favorite | SI.com
Justify is the morning line favorite at 3-1.
The Raptors Coughed Up Home-Court Advantage In 10 Mind-Boggling Minutes | FiveThirtyEight
Just when the Toronto Raptors finally looked like they’d exorcised their playoff demons against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs once again found a way to haun…
Ken Giles punches himself in face during Astros' loss to Yankees
USA TODAY Sports Offers The Latest News, Buzz, Information, Photos and Videos From The World of Sports.
Adam Dunn had the weirdest career in MLB history - SBNation.com
He didn’t have the greatest career in baseball history, but he sure as hell had the weirdest.
Then There’s This
Philly Naked Bike Ride to feature body-painting exhibition - ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Soccer fan banned from stadium uses crane to watch game | The Kansas City Star
A soccer fan who was banned from a stadium for 12 months was intent on watching his team play in Turkey, so he rented a crane and watched from high above.