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Runners, take your marks

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The legendary Roger Bannister leads the pack during a 1954 attempt to break the British record for the two mile. Earlier that year, Bannister had become the first man to break the four-minute mark in the mile.

The day before the start of the semester is like the last minute before the starter’s gun fires for a footrace. Back in high school, I was a miler on the track team. About 60 second before the race, I’d stand in the infield just off to the side of the starting line, walking in aimless little circles. Half a minute later, I’d toe the starting line in my assigned lane, rocking back and forth without moving my feet. Then it was “Runners, take your marks!” and the gun would crack.

The start of the semester is like the first lap of the mile. During that lap, I’d try to get my breathing into a smooth, regular rhythm, even though my lungs were burning. I’d also plot my race strategy based on how the pack was shaping up. That was all there was to it: trying to run four laps faster than anyone else on the track. It never was easy.

The start of my spring semester begins at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. At about 8:15, I’ll start getting fidgety, wondering how well the first day of class will go. As in the mile, a good start is important. I try to get to class early for a little small talk with the students as they file in.

Then the starter’s gun fires. And the race begins again.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2013 07:53 pm (UTC)
A good start is certainly optimal, but then there's that tried and true adage of, "Slow start, strong finish" that could apply to your running analogy as well as to the start of the semester.

Anyhow, *clink* - here's to a good start!
Jan. 13th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
*Clink*—I'll drink to that. Thank you.

All of the students I'll be working with this semester had Chris and me in class last semester (we team-taught two sections of the same course), so the start should be a good one.
Jan. 14th, 2013 03:39 am (UTC)
I'm sure your semester will start off on the right foot.

Jan. 14th, 2013 03:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, and it will end up in my mouth before the end of the class.
Jan. 14th, 2013 04:32 am (UTC)
Last year, I mistook a student's gender in front of the whole class. You can only go up from there.
Jan. 15th, 2013 01:14 am (UTC)
Oh. My.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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