Submitted by Don Doman.
Do we achieve enough? Do we have limits for what we can do? What we should do? Or, could we do more?
My friend and co-grandfather Randy Melquist, took me out to breakfast for my birthday about ten years ago. We talked for almost two hours. Some of the conversation centered around the University of Puget Sound. Randy and I, along with my wife, attended the school at the same time, but did not know each other. UPS is and was a small liberal arts institution in Tacoma, Washington. Randy had been a language and business major. Peggy was a German literature major, and I was a fine arts major.
I mentioned to Randy that I had almost attended a recent football game at the university. Two weeks before I read a great newspaper article about a current UPS “Logger” running back who was on-track for being the most prolific rusher ever in school history. But, I didn’t make it to the game where Rory Lee set the school record. To my dismay, the game was played in Spokane, which would have been a good six hours plus drive over Snoqualmie Pass and across the state. I would have started out in the darkness and returned in the darkness. I also would have probably ended up driving in rain and snow. That trip was much more effort than I wanted to put forth. I would have driven the two miles from my home to Baker Stadium on the UPS campus, however. I’m a very fair-weather supporter. To date, I still haven’t attended a UPS football game.
The UPS Loggers lost the game. “Lee finished the afternoon with 101 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. The game bumped his career rushing total to 4,051 yards and his season total to 1,278 yards, both new school records.” Randy bemoaned that fact that it’s hard to compare current record holders with those from the past. As always, statistics don’t really tell you about the people. Records fall. Record holders change. Fame is fleeting.
Randy brought up the name of the football hero from when we attended school: Joe Peyton. Peyton had been a marvelous athlete in multiple sports. Randy knew Joe from track & field. He told a story of one track meet. Joe arrived late. As a member of ROTC and the reserves he had parachuted twice that morning and then rushed to the track meet. Once arriving at Pacific Lutheran University in nearby Parkland, he took part in the one hundred yard dash, the 220, anchored the 440, and did everything but give out bath towels. He took first place in each of seven events. How many people would have just stopped at jumping out of the airplane?
Joe set records in many sports and eventually came back to UPS as football coach. His widow still taught Physical Education there. Rory Lee still had most of his life to set new records and achieve goals, but I’ve seen nothing about him since 2006. The world is waiting. Actually, I think the world grows tired of waiting for most of us to contribute . . . anything.
So, how much can we do? Probably a lot more than most attempt. How many limits do we have? Fewer than we suppose. What should we do? I think we should risk failure at every opportunity. Why play it safe? As we age we realize that time is against us. Age and our bodies don’t always work well together. We should do as much as we can. We could join community groups. We could help young students. We could encourage others to get education and training. We could even build cultural bridges. Who knows what records we could break, if we would just try. Like Joe Peyton, jumping out of an airplane should be only our first step . . . because there is more we could do every single day.