Dr. Mark J Mendeszoon

Dr. Mark J Mendeszoon

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Time to Shine

About 15 years ago at a District Championship high school track meet, my wife and another coach and I were standing on the railing by the third relay exchange zone and when we couldn't help but notice one boy jumping up and down shouting " it's my time to shine". We didn't know who he was nor was his team a favorite. Needless to say, this athlete received the baton in the back of the pack and ran like the wind and won the relay for his team. This young man was ready to compete and this was his ritual to elevate his game.

I thought about that young man as I traveled to Austin, Texas to watch the Texas Relays and see several thousand athletes compete. I reflected on why people compete and how individuals bring out the best in themselves at big moments. I will have the opportunity in Austin to ask the defending gold medalist, world record holder and recent Indoor World Champion in the women's pole vault what makes her continue to compete at such a high level after a long career and to overcome so many obstacles while still being considered a favorite for Olympic gold in her event. Considering she is my client and needs my help to get healthy, picking her brain was a bit easier.

From speaking with her I realized that for the overwhelming majority of people, competition is a form of self satisfaction, knowing that the dedication, sacrifice, and hard work will provide some joy and success.
Not everyone is going to be the best in what they decide to do, but that does not prohibit individuals from doing their best and enjoying their experience. In athletics and generally in life, there are many valleys to go through before one can reach the summit. There is no perfect performance and this is what drives people to continue to fuel the desire to make all those sacrifices worth it as we strive to attain  personal bests or recognition from our peers.

What started me thinking about all this is the unique opportunity I've had to remain close with the man that has had the greatest impact on my life for the last 39 years. His name is Steve Borbet and if not for him I would not be the person I am today. He has coached cross country, indoor and outdoor track for 43 years.  He has graduated thousands of athletes and accumulated numerous honors and awards throughout the decades, including election into the New York Armory Track & Field Hall of Fame. The dedication and effort he has given our sport is endless. Having the opportunity to spend three days this past week with him at my home was priceless.  What galvanizes my philosophy on life and athletics has come from him and that is" not only work hard and have fun doing it, but make people around you better by leading by example".

Despite having some success in high school, college and post collegiately in track and field, I lost more times than I  won and can count on one hand if I ever had that " perfect race". However, because of what Coach Borbet taught me I kept on working hard and learning how to compete within myself. I have taken this approach to my professional career as well and understand that if I apply myself then I will be formidable and be able to live comfortably with that.  I hope this philosophy in life trickles down to my own children, athletes, students, and surgical residents.

On a side note, I look forward to the Achilles Running Shop Championship Game against Mill City Running in the Saltyrunning.com March Madness Tournament for best running shop in the land.
As a 16 seed in the 72 team field, Achilles has made an impressive run thanks to all your support.  We respectfully ask you to vote for us between 8 pm Sunday, April 3rd and 8 pm Monday, April 4th. Remembering that young, underdog relay runner, it is our time to shine!