Have Someone Better Than You

We were talking about the old track days; Bob nailed a timeless truth.

I had sent the tight group of friends from the high school days – we used to be the “Lunch Bunch”
 of five, but we are now down to four – a video clip of Matthew Boling who graduated from our high school almost a half century after we did. Boling is a track superstar. While we weren’t, we loved the sport.

In the email dialog, I responded to a question with the statement that my best quarter-mile time was 54 seconds, a time achieved while being self-coached, having been essentially kicked off the high school team for not being willing to get a haircut. Ahh, the ‘70s. Then Bob replied, “Just think what you could have done with him as a workout partner.”

“A workout partner.” The words rattled around in my head because of their truth and wisdom: “You need someone who is better than you, who pushes you, who makes you grow beyond yourself, who is your partner…to achieve your potential.” I wished I had seen it that way when I was a younger, more hard-headed (if that is possible) than now, more rebellious young man than the senior that I am now.

His simply observed truth reminded me of stories my dad shared about his boxing days in 1932-33. Dad was a featherweight. He shared stories with me about how the little guys like him would train with the big guys. The featherweights could pound on the bigger guys like banging on human heavy bags; the big guys liked training with the littler fighters because it improved their speed. They trained with workout partners who pushed each other to great success. It takes work; it takes working with those who are better; it takes working with others with different skill sets.

Potential is rarely met alone. Fortunately, it is never too late to learn that lesson. Thanks, Bob.

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