I enjoy running. I know for some of you the two words just simply don't go together. I got into running in high school. I ran mainly long distance. The mile was my favorite. The 880 yard dash was too fast for me and the two mile was too far. If you know anything about track, I just confessed that I'm old because what I ran was yards not the "new" measure of running of today, meters.
For a period of my life, I actually gave up running. With a family, teaching, and coaching three sports, I couldn't seem to find the time to run. Any extra time that I had was early in the morning. As much as I like to sleep in on a , that wasn't going to happen. The past few years I have picked running again and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of exercise. Running allows me a "get away". There are no phone calls, no questions to be asked, no work to be done while running. If there is a good clearing of the mind activity, running is certainly one.
Sometimes I like to mix up my running with bike riding. This was exactly what I was doing on the day that I had the beginning of a lesson in confrontation. I had a great idea of riding my bike a few miles and then going to the public pool to swim a few laps. In my mind, the cool water would be refreshing after a hot, middle of the summer bike ride. Unfortunately my bike ride would turn into a something less refreshing.
As I was nearing the end of my ride, I noticed three middle school aged kids walking across the street. They were taking a little longer than usual to get across because of the angle they were walking up the hill. I thought they should probably get across so no one hits them coming over top the hill. As I approach them they were about halfway across and again thought to myself, If you keep walking, it shouldn't be a problem for me to keep going straight. As they were clearing my path, one boy on the end decided to have a little fun. His fun, not mine.
He made a motion like he was going to walk in front of me. I tensed up and thought, Okay kid just stay were you are. I then decided I was going to have to brake because he didn't seem to change direction. Just before I hit the brakes he decided to "fake me out" and pretend to try and knock me off my bike. At this moment I went from leaving the brake alone to just keeping it straight. He could see that I wasn't fooled so he backed off. As I went past him and then turned into the pool parking lot he must have realized that I wasn't fazed. He wasn't going to back down in making a point because as soon as my bike came to a stop I heard from the top of the hill, "Mike Sanders Sucks!"
The first thing that came to my mind wasn't anger. It was confusion. How in the world does he know my name? He isn't one of the kids at my school. Surely I'm not that notorious as a school administrator that other school district kids think I suck? As it turns out one of the kids he was walking with was a girl that attended my school. With all of the distraction, I hadn't even noticed her. I'm guessing that once he tried to pull his intimidating stunt, she told him not to do that because that is Mike Sanders her school superintendent. I'm not sure that's exactly what she said, but she is a good girl at school so I going assume the positive about her.
After the split second confusion, I decided that this young man had gone too far. I wasn't going to let him smear my name at the top of his lungs in a public place. I got back on my bike and pursued him. Since I didn't know this kid, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. Some of you may be wondering about my common sense chasing after a unknown student. Fortunately this was in the small town that I lived in so I believed I was safe in trying to teach this kid a lesson. I wouldn't have done this in a big city, in a dark alley. I would save that for the superhero on the screen or for law enforcement. So up the hill I went in pursuit.
Join me in the next post to find out how my chase ended.