Our three tickets to the Pre Classic

A favorite movie of mine is The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The 2007 movie centers around two terminally ill men who embark on a road trip with a wish list of things they hope to do and fulfill before they kick the bucket! Thus the title of the movie, The Bucket List.

I guess we all have a bucket list of things we hope to do and accomplish before we check out of this life. While I have always realized life is a fragile and precious gift that can be here today and gone tomorrow, diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago that truth even become more impressed upon me. Each day is a treasured gift from the Good Lord and never to be taken for granted.

My only problem is that the things on my bucket list cost money. But I can’t take it with me. I have never had a lengthy list, but three years ago I fulfilled the first item on my bucket list. I have always wanted to go to Disney World. I grew up watching Walt Disney’s “Wonderful World of Disney.” I used to sit in fascination as I watched on a black and white TV Tinkerbelle’s Castle. I always said I would go there someday and see it. But year after year passed by and my childhood dream remained unfilled.

Realizing I wasn’t getting any younger, in the summer of 2012, at age sixty, our family went to Disney World! I was excited as a little child. When I walked through the gate to Disney World my eyes became moist and when I saw Tinkerbelle’s Castle for the first time I stood motionless in awe. As my eyes became fixated upon the huge castle I wept as I realized a childhood dream had become a reality. Check item number one off my bucket list.

Being a lifelong runner, the second item on my bucket list was to someday visit Eugene, Oregon to trod the paths once run by one of America’s most illustrious distance runners and watch one of the most prestigious track meets in the world, the Steve Prefontaine Classic. If you don’t know who Steve Prefontaine was, he at one time was one of America’s most celebrated distance runners. He was from Coos Bay, Oregon, attended the University of Oregon and at one time held every American distance record from the two mile to the 10,000 meters. He was to be the next great and dominate world class runner. Unfortunately, on May 30, 1975, at age 24, he was tragically killed in automobile accident. The running world was stunned at his untimely death, but the spirit of his commitment and passion lives on in the track meet held in his memory.

The track meet organized in memory of this legendry runner has always been held the last weekend of May, the weekend of his death. Each year it was held it grew bigger and bigger, until now the best runners in the world come and run there. I have always wanted to go to Eugene, which is the Mecca for track runners, and run the trails Prefontaine ran, to see the place where he died, to see the track on which he set records, and to witness the best athletes in the world run like the wind. Year after year passed and it only remained a dream.

This year, 2015, it becomes a reality. This year marks the 40th anniversary since Prefontaine passed away and this is the year I am going to check another item off my bucket list. I, my daughter and her husband (who are also  runners) are leaving next week to hob-knob with the best runners in the world and walk (run) in the footsteps of the great Steve Prefontaine. (My wife is staying with the grandkids, which is always at the top of her bucket list!)

Only a die-hard runner will understand this, but I know sitting in the track stands at Hayward Field will be a sacred experience for me. Understanding the history of the great Oregon coaches and runners who have left their footprints upon Hayward Field, I will be in appreciative awe of what I am experiencing and witnessing.

Yes, I may be 63 years old, but there is still a lot of kid in me. As one philosopher has said, “The secret to life is to carry with you the heart of a child even into old age.” That being the case, I have many years yet to go to check off more items on my bucket list.

Life is short. Life is a gift. Life is uncertain. So let’s get busy fulfilling the items on our bucket list.


Dr. Dan

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