Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wednesday Post #1 - Thoughts, Reflections & Thanks!

Good Morning. I didn't get much sleep last night but will make up for it today. After dinner with Alan, posting for the blog and talking to Nancy and Kris it was nearly 1 AM. Of course I got up at 5 AM as usual so I'll get a nap in today. The gravity of this still accomplishment hasn't set in for me but every time a walk past where my gold medal is hanging I'm reminded that it's very real. I am honored, grateful and humbled and so appreciative of your support and friendship.

Another factor in the conditions yesterday was that s the meet went on the sun was coming down behind the pit so it shaded the plant box and made it tough to see. Then when you completed your take off and looked up toward the bar, the sun blasted your view so you were going totally off of feel with no real concept of where you were in space. Very spooky.

A quick note to last night's thanks - Phil Raschker is a great and true friend from Georgia. She is the most decorated athlete in our sport often winning 10 gold medals at these events. I got to know her in the mid 1990s when she took up the vault. She knew I was ready for a breakthrough and kept up with me every day, throughout the day, including hanging out for most of my competition yesterday after she finished winning the 400m. I'm not a dot in her universe as far as performance results but she's encouraged me like it was her first gold medal too. She is the kind of person that cheers for everyone and sincerely shares the joy of other's accomplishments. She and Tom Rauscher are staying in the same hotel pretty far away from me so my commitment to Alan kept me from getting together with them for dinner. I just wanted to acknowledge my appreciation for her here.

Also masterstack.com blogger and friend for many years, Ken Stone, is constantly on the move trying to improve our sport. There is not an issue that he won't get involved in if he thinks it needs attention. He is a great ambassador and activist for our sport and I'm honored to say he's my friend. Ken, I was told for results to Google New South Wales (NSW) Athletics as that is where ours are posted.

Next I absolutely would not be here without my training partner, Don Curry. Don had had some injury issues but appears near cleaning those up. We learned to vault together as kids and even vaulted in each other's backyards before we really knew what we were doing. So I've been with Don for over 40 years. A great vaulter himself, he won the National Senior Games in Louisville in 2007 and I got 2nd.

Coach Dan Green recently retired and his son has taken over the program at The Woodlands High School where I train. Our school was named the #1 high school athletic program in the US by ESPN. Coach Green has a phenomenal awards list and is a master motivator. Being able to talk to him and get his insights on many topics has been a true blessing. His son, Juris, is beyond impressive in the way he goes about his business so I'll looking forward to developing more of a relationship with him too. Shawn Hamilton is our strength & conditioning coach and he too is a huge resource for me. He has the highest USA Track & Field certification offered and is a walking reference manual and all around terrific guy. Our pole vault coach is probably the nicest and most sincere man I have ever met in Robbie Dueitt. There is not a better coach when it comes to getting a brand new kid effective in a very short time - 20 minutes and they are clearing a crossbar. When he is in football I run the program for the off season and report to him. When he comes back out I serve as his volunteer assistant. Two other big names that make it possible for me and our pole vault club to succeed are Athletic Director, Mark Schmid. Not only is he a GREAT football coach he also coached the kid to our school record of 16' 1 1/4" before Robbie or me were involved. Finally the Principal, Greg Colschen, is an ardent supporter of the track program and he too has blessed me being able to practice and help out there. Without these guys I wouldn't have near the success I have had. They are a second family for me for which I am very thankful.

I'll post others as they come up but now here are a few "funny" things I've seen. On the way in from the airport I saw a logo that looked just like the Burger King logo but it said "Burger Giant". It advertised on a billboard, "Brekky at 6 AM". Though they do have Snickers candy bars, they also have a knock off brand with the exact same packaging and color/graphic scheme called "More Nuts". They also have warnings on their freeway signs that they "Ticket Drink Drivers". Here it is called "Drink Driving" instead of "Drunk Driving". I should have kept a list because there are many funny sayings and descriptions. I have never met an Ozzie who was not friendly and funny. Not a bad way to be known.

Thanks again for your interest and support. I head home tomorrow and will be so happy to get there. I've had a great time but I'm certainly mentally and physically drained. Im sure I'll have some other closing thoughts. Thanks for tuning in and caring. It means the world to me. Bubba

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