By my senior year of college I was a consistently barely-above-average middle distance runner that my coach always said could be a much, much better runner than I was. I took this as a compliment. For some reason, I decided I wanted to be on the 1600-meter relay team even though I was no longer a sprinter. I inserted myself into the sprinters’ workouts, beating every one of them in practice until one of them threw me against a wall mid-stride and another threatened to kill my white ass, but the sprint coach had no choice but to concede and put me on the relay. My performance at my own event suffered as I single-mindedly focused on an event for which I was ill-suited on a relay team that didn't want me. I think now I did this because every time I called Wayne Martin to tell him how I was running he would say, “That’s great! Did you hear about Brian?” My half brother Brian had gone on to become a state champion at Lawrence High and an All-American at the University of Kansas. His race was the 400, and he anchored the university’s 1600-meter relay team.

Just added to The List and the Story: Out of the Nineties

AuthorJohn Proctor