Dunn Neugebauer Column: The Power of the Moments

The Buddhists always tell you to stay in the moment. If you've been around cross country and track long enough, however, I'm not really sure that's possible.

It's sunny out now and as I wandered out to watch a couple of seniors do their workout, my mind exploded -- exhausted itself after the events of the things that have happened after so many starting guns have gone off over the years.

We lost the state 4 X 400 one year by the length of a pencil eraser. My sophomore broke 20 minutes for the first time in her life in cross country. One of our seniors broke five in the mile at the Time Trial. Two years ago one of our runners described to me how the four high school years are EXACTLY like the four laps of a mile. Another kid, a former nine-minute miler, ran a 6:07 three years later.

You don't read about 6:07 milers these days -- just know that if you're reading this, the kid earned it, deserved it, and his smile when looking at his watch made me melt in a good way.

Are guys supposed to hug each other? Sure they are … just monitor the progress of a 9-minute miler turned 6:07.

I write this not as one to argue with the Buddhists -- or any spiritual or religious belief -- yet one who differs in a positive way.

Let your mind go where it wants, as long as it's positive. When the moon's tilted right, I can still see that sophomore look at her watch, a 19:54 staring back at her. Can literally see not just her, but her mind celebrating in such joy, such accomplishment, such happiness.

People say you can't see the wheels spinning inside kid's heads. I'm here to tell you that you can.

I remember walking up to her just to be around it -- the fact that I got to help make it a positive experience time 12. It's not only why we do it, but the life lessons learned from watching them get it, whether the number on their watches makes them happy or not.

The moment, if I have to comply, centers around the firing of that gun -- a sound so absent last year after March 12 that I found myself turning on old western movies just to hear it again.

Addicted, perhaps?

In moving on, I interviewed a coach of a different sport the other day, and he said something interesting, yet true.

"We don't let our kids get into a negative mindset if they're quarantined or get sent home. We remind them to be grateful to get another chance to play. After all, you never know if it could get taken away again."

Yeah. That. Exactly that.

And with that, I close in gratitude. And with a track meet looming ahead on our Saturday schedule. And with kids out on a Saturday putting in some miles, getting some extra stretching in.

It's these little snapshot moments, you know -- the ones that fill your head, make you smile, keep you going. And there is so much in those moments, so much adrenaline, hope, and positivity.

So whether present or not, whether the mind is traveling or it's where my feet are, please don't take the power of those moments away.