Earlier tonight I was digging through an old scrapbook from my freshman year at Delaware, when I wrote for the student newspaper and also contributed articles to my hometown Patent Trader. The pages sparked all sorts of memories—kicker profiles, nervous walk-ups to coaches, confusion over lacrosse terminology. I’m a sucker for nostalgia.
That said, I uncovered one thing that I never need to read again. It’s a letter I wrote to the Taconic Road Runners Club, the organization that helped me develop from a mediocre young runner to a solid-yet-unspectacular young runner. With some reservation, this is the note as it appeared in the TRRC newsletter …
Where to begin?
• The unjustified cockiness oozes from the page. “Develop my running abilities to their peak”? What? I was a hack. Not even a very good hack. Slightly above average. And “now as a freshman runner on the University of Delaware Division I cross country team”? WHAT? I was on the Hens because the coach was an amazing man who didn’t cut. I was Division I solely out of luck. Truth be told, I’d have been a bad DIII runner. Jesus Christ.
• “Run with the best”? Seriously—I was barely surviving practices. Barely. These guys were so beyond my non-skill level.
• “Pearl”—I signed the letter with a nickname I was given in fourth grade by a Little League teammate. And now I’m referring to myself as “Pearl”? WHAT?
Seriously, it’s so awful it’s laughable. I honestly didn’t realize what sort of mojo I was setting free; couldn’t sense the people surely laughing at my inanity.
Maybe that’s just youth.
But, man, it was bad.