Growing up, I had two wonderful dogs – Asta and Sandy. These two dogs had completely different personalities. Asta would lay around all day and then wonder where dinner was. Sandy would beg you to go out and throw the tennis ball to her. By the end of the workout, she was still going, and I had to ice my shoulder.
Animals are funny and clever. My brother knows this better than anybody. He is a zookeeper for the Santa Ana Zoo, but before that, he trained animals for the studios and worked with some of today's A-list celebs. I could not be prouder of the career he has built.
When my brother and I were in our teens, we started housesitting and petsitting. A friend of our's taught dog obedience at Pierce College. The dog obedience classes were a great place to land jobs for the summer. One summer we were only home one week, the rest of the time we were working.
You might think that housesitting and petsitting are an easy gig. The truth is there is a lot of responsibility, and everything doesn't always work out like you think it will.
As much as we might want to run from our past experiences, they help define our present and our future. Some experiences lead to new careers, new friendships and passions revealed.
At seventeen, I embraced the unknown and walked clumsily into the adventure. Years later, I can clearly see the experiences that shaped my life then and now.
John Wooden said, “I like to spend time in the past, with the things that have been important to me.”
This 40-day journey embraces the very essence of this quote. Each day we are creating new memories, new experiences and one day we will look back on today just as we are looking back on the previous years.
Today, we pick up the story as we wing our way to Africa. I had ever been out of the country, and now I was heading to Kenya, Africa. I couldn't believe it. We had loads of gear that was accompanying us, and I had to forgo my carry on so I could carry the ADAT machine.
The ADAT machine was our digital (VHS type tape) brain. It ran all of our musical programmings. It provided the click track for the drums, the extra stuff like horns and keys and all that goodness that makes us sound like we have a gigantic band.
I hope you have been enjoying this unique look down memory lane. Today, we are switching gears, and I want to take you to far off lands. I want to take you to Denver, Colorado.
Okay, so it's not quite the far off lands you were expecting but this story has a few twists and turns that we will explore over the next couple of days.
When I was seventeen, I auditioned for a Christian music group called The Continental Singers. They toured the United States, Europe and other parts of the world. I filled out my lengthy questionnaire to be a sound person.
For a few years, I had been running sound at my church. In fact, everything I learned about sound, I learned from Ron Thurow. He got me into it, and much like my story about Don Vulich, his training would help me lead my sound team with the Agape Singers several years from now.
As you can tell by now, running and cross country were a big part of my life growing up. I always dreamed of running a 4-minute mile just like my hero Roger Bannister. I envisioned a long and prosperous career as a track athlete, but life would have other plans.
Looking back over some of my freshman races, I saw a marked improvement throughout the season. Here are a few highlights:
As the season came to a close, I had a great freshman campaign. Each year, after the season concludes, athletes were invited to participate in the Kinney Cross Country Championships in Fresno, California. This was an opportunity to test myself against athletes from all across the western states.
I know I have been on a little bit of a running kick over the past few days, but it was such a huge part of my life growing up. In fact, I would not be the person I am today without running.
Running was an escape for me. I could get lost in a different world just by running, especially on the trails. There were fire roads, and single tracks and I could feel the hot wind hit my face. It would make you want to yell “Weeeeeeee” all the time you were running.
In the olden days, before shopping centers and large churches took over the north valley, the space was just a vast expanse of hills, valleys, and trails. I could ride my dirt bike or run and never see another soul.
I loved the show CHiPs growing up (and still do) and in the dust bowl area where I would run, they filmed several scenes right there in my playground.
Over the years, the trails were replaced with shopping centers, homes, apartments and Shepherd of the Hills Church, but when I started running, it was just a giant playground of trails.