In a recent conversation, a friend of mine mentioned that his daughter planned to pole vault in high school.
“That’s GREAT,” I said.
Because I used to be a pole vaulter as well. I can proudly declare – without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion – that I was the worst pole vaulter in the history of the sport.
Why can I make such a boast?
Because for two full years, I never – not once – ever cleared the bar.
And it was set pretty low, since we were in junior high school at the time.
Oh, I tried. Day after day I made the sprint down the runway, slammed the pole into the hole, and launched myself skyward. Translated, that means I launched myself into the bar. The school must have had to readjust its “bar budget” because I ruined quite a few (bent bars are frowned upon in competition).
Pole vaulting requires upper arm strength, speed, and confidence – none of which I possessed.
Time after time I tried, and time after time I failed.
The first year I was the rookie and the older kids were the stars.
The second year I was the only “veteran” returning. So you know what the coach did? He put me in charge. He told me to train the young pole vaulters.
Me. The guy who never cleared the bar. The worst pole vaulter in the world.
They say, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
I am living proof that it is true.