Time to catch up on some of my favorite quotes I’ve come across in my 27 years of writing this column. You won’t believe long distance running can be so competitive.
Cross country and marathons don’t get much press. Someone wrote: “No half times, no time-outs, no substitutions. It must be the only true sport!” Another “someone” wrote: “Finally a practical use for golf courses.”
And then there is this poem I’ve saved for some reason, also author unknown. “For every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running!” I tell my grandkids this story. And some of them get it!
While we are on the subject of running, John Bryant said: “Any day that I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy!”
As I get older this quote from my son, Dave, about running his first marathon, makes sense. “In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say ‘I have finished.” He finished the L.A. Marathon a couple of years ago. Congrats.
I guess this one doesn’t have much to do with sports except to say that I think good character is very important. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when he knows he won’t get caught!”
I’ll always remember a fellow track guy in high school saying what another unknown author said. (Maybe it was him!) “The faster you run the faster you’re done.”
Walter Bagehot said, “The greatest pleasure in life is doing the things that people say we cannot do.”
I like realists too. Bill Bowerman wrote: “I think people can handle 150 to 200 miles a week. But something has to give somewhere. If he’s a student, how’s he going to study? He may be at the age of chasing and courtship, and that’s an important form of sport and recreation too.” I knew it! All that time wasn’t wasted!
Julius Caesar is often quoted by coaches: “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste death but once!”
Another way to put it: Run hard, be strong, think big,” said Percy Cerutty.
So you don’t know some of these names I’m quoting. You don’t know much about cross country and marathon racing.
Confucius said it best: “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” Here! Here!
Marc Davis said: “All it takes is all you got!”
Last week I tried to make this point in the huge wins some of the local football players got. “ To win without risk is to triumph without glory,” said Pierre Cornielle.
One of the best quotes I’ve seen lately: “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself,” by William Faulkner.
Of course Don Kardongn, Hall of Fame distance runner and author, might have had a lucid moment when he said, “If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want. Why? Because:
You’ll burn all the calories you consume,
You deserve it, and
You’ll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway.”
Did Ron Litzler, have something other than running in mind when he said, “If you want to make God laugh, just try and make plans for the future!”
Another favorite by Mark Twain: “Good judgment is the result of experience. Experience is the result of bad judgment.”
And I guess Emil Zatopek said it all for long distance and marathon runners: “We are different, in essence, from other people. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”
Contact Don Alexander at Journaldon@aol.com.