Friday, November 15, 2013

The Jackson Five....

Last Saturday morning in Trenton, Anthony Russo of Jackson, New Jersey participated in the 2013 Trenton Half-Marathon.  He completed the 13.1 mile course in 2:22:25.  You may wonder what significance if any there is to that time.  Only this:  Anthony Russo is five years old. 

According to Runner's World magazine, his finishing time on Saturday is the fastest-ever recorded finishing time for a child of five years in a half-marathon.  Yes indeed there is one other time in the annals of American running at the half-marathon distance that belongs to a child of five years or younger.  Anthony Russo's finishing time was approximately forty minutes faster.  On Saturday he became the youngest sub-2:30 half marathoner in U.S. history.  

At least for present purposes, I am an adult runner who can claim a better half-marathon time than young Anthony.  For now anyway.  I reckon that by the time this little dude is nine or ten he will be blowing right past me and my fellow 1:50 to 1:55 half-marathoners.  If he continues to sport his haircut of choice for another three or four years, at least I shall recognize him when he runs past.  

Monday night in Tampa, Florida something almost as rare as a five-year-old posting a sub-2:30 finishing time in a half-marathon happened.  The Tampa Bay Bucs won a football game, defeating the Miami Dolphins.  As someone who rooted hard for Greg Schiano the entire time he patrolled the banks of the old Raritan as RU's head football coach - and who keeps hoping against hope that Schiano lives to see Year Three as a head coach in the NFL - I was very happy to see his guys win one.  I watched only a little bit of the game and smiled when I saw my late, great mother-in-law's all-time favorite Rutgers player, Tiquan Underwood, on the field as a wide receiver for Tampa.  He made a very nice play on their first drive as a matter of fact.  The Tampa roster has a fair number of Schiano's former college players on it - six on the active roster and one on Injured Reserve.  If the Bucs' fortunes do not improve dramatically in the season's second half, then the possibility exists that Rutgers' NFL unemployment rate is going to skyrocket upon the completion of the 2013 schedule.    

I prefer my dog to most humans.  Agree with my position or not, I cannot fake giving the ass of a solitary rat.  For my money, Rosalita is more reliable than the average bi-ped.  She is also far less likely to either surprise me or disappoint me than an animal of the human persuasion.  As someone who values consistency that is not a little thing.  You may be able to imagine therefore my internal happiness at reading about the funeral of British RAF World War II veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival ("Jam" to his friends.  I just made that up.  I have no idea what his friends called him.)  Percival died on October 25 at age 99.  Sadly, he lived such a long life that at the time of his death he had no close family members living anywhere near him.  His obituary mentioned that "any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated."

Percival's funeral was this past Monday.  His call to attend was answered by several hundred mourners, including service personnel who came from all over Great Britain to pay their respects.  They sang songs and honored the life of a man who most of them had never met.  They did so because they simply determined that it was something worth doing.    

And what better reason does one need to do anything than that?

-AK

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