The Story of Bill

Down the street from where I live is a high school athletic field. The man in charge of maintaining the field is named Bill. Bill has had this job for some twenty years, always making sure that the grass is cut, and the stands are clean for the festivities each Saturday. During the week as I pass by I always see the football team running their drills and working out while Bill looks on with a smile. At the local coffee shop, each morning Bill is guaranteed to enter at eight in the morning to pick up his two containers of java. He always has a kind smile, and a kind word for my three little dogs. One morning Bill sat down on a bench with me and shared a story I would like to pass on to you….

“Every year these muscular football types parade themselves onto the field thinking that they have all the answers” said Bill, “They look at me, a sixty-two year old man and say “Hey Pops, how’s it going?” I say “fine”, smile, and think to myself “Age is deceiving.” After school, as three o clock rolls around the football team begins their four mile jog. One day they asked “good old Bill” to join them. I said hey, why not? What they didn’t know is that Bill jogs around the field three miles a day. So the jog begins….the full squad of football players take off and leave me in the dust, snickering and laughing as they bolt ahead. I myself proceed ahead at my own pace…the same pace that I have maintained for the past seven years I’ve been running. As I carry on running, one by one I pass each member of the team…what they didn’t realize at the beginning was that the full burst of energy they showed was supposed to get them through the entire run. There is alot to be said for timing, pace, and endurance. Youth is a burst of energy…..but as we age hopefully we begin to understand that those bursts cannot be freely wasted.”

As Bill returned to the field he waited for the football squad to trickle in. They headed over to the bleachers where Bill was sitting and asked him, “Hey old man, how on earth did you do that?” Bill replied,”You may be stronger and faster than me, but without experience it’s hard to tell the beginning, the middle, and the end.” Bill also added, “I’ve learned in life you must neither go too fast, or too slow…the center becomes your friend….and the more you embrace that center the easier the journey.”

I think all of us somewhere along the line have met a person like Bill. Each story is a treasure.
Take the time to listen,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1999 Jennifer Avalon

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