Dinner of Champions

May 17, 2013

Dinner of Champions

Today, I ran my last competitive race ever. I ran a single mile at our Regional Track Meet. Come Monday, I’ll be turning in my uniform for the last time. I’ll be saying good-bye to the bold GL I’ve worn on my chest for four short years.

Ben and I both ran the mile. And we both got PRs. I got around 4:41-42. Ben got about 4:46-47. Our coaches form of “listen for the gun, look for the finish” timing is not an exact science. So, we were somewhere in that range.

Tonight, I went out for fast food. With four of the greatest guys I’ll ever know. Ben, Jeremy, and the two Sams, the Distance Squad.  Now that most of us are no longer running competitively, we feel absolutely no guilt about throwing a greasy burger and fries down our gullets. Not that I usually have an immense amount of guilt anyway…We had a Dinner of Champions. And it was so tasty.

While it’s great that I can be a fully satisfied, guilt-free customer at McDonald’s or Burger King…the taste of saturated fats is a little bittersweet. Because it’s all over. It’s really all over. Running was how I helped define myself throughout High School. I was Brian Wiegand. I ran Cross Country and Track. That’s what I did. And now…well, now what? What do kids do with the free time they get after school?

High School is really about to end. There’s less than 10 days of school left. That’s nothing. Nothing! Next week will hold my Last Monday, my Last Friday, and it will be my Last Full Week of School. See how I capitalized those? It means they’re important.

I think I’d like to offer some advice. Granted, I’m not some wise sage full of brilliant advice, and the tokens of knowledge I do think I have to offer…may be tokens of foolery. But I’ll give it a go.

Life is a high speed train. It zooms along the clock’s face endlessly and unceasingly. There are certain moments in it’s trek that it may slow down just enough, offer just a slim enough window, for you to jump aboard and take over for the conductor. This is a good thing to do. These windows are things such as tryouts, auditions, sign-ups, meetings, etc. Get on that train. Because things like Track, things like PAC, things like Cross Country. Those things are worth it. So unbelievably worth it that if I lived a million, trillion Lives…I’d go do something every single time. I’d go meet amazing people like Jeremy or Ben or Sam or Sam.

As I’ve said before: I think the success of a Life can be determined by how eager you are to tell someone about it on your death bed. Getting involved as much as you can is one way to make yourself excited about Life.

There’s nothing like the feeling of being on a team, being a part of something bigger than yourself, it’s absolutely glorious. That Dinner of Champions wasn’t great because of the Big Mac, it was great because of the people I was with.

Unfortunately, my days of High School extracurriculars are over. Cross Country has long since finished. PAC ended earlier this week. And now Track has vanished as well.

But it’s all just part of it, it’s just part of growing up and heading out. The good thing is, I get to go into the world knowing that I’m carrying with me a little bit of Coach Portis, of Mr. Nott, of Coach Flynn, of Coach Hawkins, of Mrs. Stahr, of Jeremy, of Ben, of the Sams. I’m a Gull Lake boy, through and trough. Which is kinda cool.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

My Closet Door

February 25, 2013

My Closet Door

Due to the effect of Michigan weather, we Richlandites won’t see Spring take over our environment for a while, but Spring is certainly approaching…rapidly.

Spring is a busy time for an Idiot like me. Spring means Track…Spring means One Acts…And Spring means Glitter. Glitter auditions have already come and past, the Call Board was posted just last week. This year will be my fourth as a Master of Ceremony. There’s a opening Track meeting tomorrow. And just today, Mr. Nott updated the Call Board with information on One Acts.

So, I’m very aware that my final season of High School will soon be upon me.

Just the other day, I was looking at My Closet Door and it hit me just how close we are to the end. See, my closet door has these four panels. On each panel, I’ve placed a poster and a playbill from that year’s PAC events. The problem with this decoration is that once it’s finally finished…I won’t be around long enough to appreciate it. With One Acts on the way, My Closet Door will soon be complete.

Well, shoot.

Anyway, the non-morbid part of Spring is that it’s always fun. Busy…But fun. And I can’t wait to try my hand at Directing my very own show.

I haven’t talked about it for a while, but The Pan Complex will soon be presented for the community to see. While Erica and I may have been slacking slightly in our author-ly duties, we’ll have the play done before it’s due…this Thursday.

I think the most exciting thing about The Pan Complex is that it’s being invented 100% by Erica and I. We wrote the play, we’ll cast the players, we’ll decide the movements, we’ll design the set, and I’ve even asked a good friend of mine, Brady, to make the music. For four years, I’ve been under the direction of Mr. Nott or Mrs. Stahr or some Senior…But this year, I get to grab my megaphone and see what I can do with the right side of my brain.

It’s the compilation of everything I’ve learned in four years of PAC and High School packed into one 15 minute show.

Spring means a lot of things that I can look at morosely…my last Track season, my last trimester of High School, my last Glitter, my last PAC Show…Or I can realize that I’ve been blessed to have these opportunities given to me. And I’m lucky to still have a little bit of time to make a splash at Gull Lake High School.

So, here’s to the completion of My Closet Door. Here’s to Spring. Here’s to Track. Here’s to Glitter. Here’s to One Acts. And here’s to Peter Pan.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Life of an Idiot Crest

As the year comes to a conclusion, it is wise to reflect on the past 365 days and how they have changed you.

I chose a lyric from the Mumford & Sons’ song Babel to title this post because I think it ties in well with my last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever lived a year better spent in love. Spent, of course, could have multiple meanings in this context. “Spent” as in I’ve lived in it. Or “spent” as in I’ve given it away, I’ve paid with it. And I think I can relate to both meanings.

This time last year, PAC was getting underway and I was participating in the last year of Mr. Nott. We were working on a show written by Mr. Nott entitled Dune Shadow and I’d been blessed with the opportunity to play Will. The season was spent surrounded by people who I truly cared deeply about. Friends who I still cling to today. That season, we didn’t make it past Regionals…but it was also the season that we made a trip to Saugatuck and performed the show for the schools there because it was local history. In that same day, we visited the actual ruins of Singapore, the setting of our story. It’s a shame that Mr. Nott had to retire from being PAC Director, but I’m glad that I was there to experience his last year.

As Dune Shadow ended, Track and Glitter began. And it wasn’t long until One Act auditions were being held. My third year as an MC for the High School talent show, Glitter, was spent with a group of people I wouldn’t trade for the world. Just thinking about the fun we had makes me feel all giddy. There’s really nothing like being on stage. Especially if it’s in the casual, goofy sense that surrounds Glitter MCing.

Track, of course, is not Cross Country. But what’s important is the people. And the people stay the same. Last Spring marked my fifth year running Track (if you count Middle School, which I probably shouldn’t.) It was filled, as always, with runners that I felt a deep connection with….See, it’s pretty hard to avoid becoming friends with the people who get to see you at your lowest moments. When a hard workout is close to being finished and I’m about to pass out and Jeremy or Sam or Nic or Willie or anyone comes up to me, pats me on the back, and says: “Almost done” that forms a indescribable bond. A true friend is there for your lows just as much as your highs.

One Acts were, as always, a blessing. The fact that I get to do One Acts at all stems from Coach Portis and his generosity in letting me do both One Acts and Track. Thanks to him, I got to play Carter White in Door to Door and I was given the chance to meet Jossie. Jossie played Stephanie, the only other character in our play. Another amazing thing about Coach Portis is that he comes every year to watch the performances. After our show, I went and sat next to him to thank him for letting me do this and I still remember what he told me: “Brian, it looked like you we’re having a lot of fun up there. I’m glad that I can let you do something that brings you so much joy. Good job.”

And then school ended. And Summer came. And Summer was filled with Cross Country and Carly. And this is really where I’d never felt so loved. That Summer was a balancing act as I tried to spend as much time as I could with the Cross Country Team and Carly. But it didn’t really matter how much time I spent with either because I knew it would never be enough. Eventually, Summer would end. Eventually, Carly would go off to Interlochen and the Cross Country season would conclude…at the same time, though, I was going to try and embrace every second I spent in the grace of those who I loved and loved me.

Sadly, Carly did leave.

Sadly, Cross Country did end.

“I’ll see you later.” I told Carly.

“Seniors, this’ll be your last race ever with me as your head Coach. It’s been an honor.” Coach Portis said.

Both occasions were bittersweet.

Of course, now we’re almost caught up with the present. This PAC season is barely underway but I’ve enjoyed the few rehearsals we’ve had so far and I’m excited to play Juror No. 8. Once break is over, we’ll be back at the ol’ grind, working hard to make the play the best it can be.

I suppose there’s only one last thing to talk about…and that’s this blog. And this blog has helped me with thanking those who’ve helped fill this last year with love. And I can’t help but realize that I owe everyone who surrounds me all the kindness they deserve for making 2012 one of the best years ever…because I’ve Never Lived a Year Better Spent in Love.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Full Circle

September 12, 2012

The Gull Lake Cross Country Team has the best fund-raiser on the face of the planet. It is known by all Gull Lakers who love to run as: The 24 Hour Marathon. And I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

The 24 Hour Marathon is pretty simple. We start at 9:00 on a Friday morning with our fastest guy runner (Sam B. this year) running a mile on the Track. When he finishes his mile, he passes the Marathon Baton off to the second fastest guy runner (Sam S. this year). Then he runs a mile. And so on and so forth until we get to the slowest guy runner. The slowest guy runner then passes the Baton off to the fastest girl runner. And when we get to the slowest girl runner? It goes right back to the fastest guy runner. And we cycle like that for 24 Hours. The 24 Hour Marathon. The catch is, once the first runner starts, once the gun goes off…? There’s no leaving the Track. We even sleep at the Track. (Most people sleep in their cars next to the Track.) On the surface, it may seem like a very bizarre workout. In truth, it’s a huge Team Party. By far, one of the best parts of every Cross Country Season.

In between our runs, we’re free to do whatever we want. We listen to music. We play soccer. We eat. We hang out. We read. We play games. We dance. We go for cool-downs or warm-ups. We stretch. We nap. We compete in a “Guess-the-Teammate” game for $5 from Coach Portis. We tell jokes. We do tricks. (With our fellow candlesticks.) In general, we just have…a really, really, really good time.

It’s a shame I’ve already had my last one. All things come to pass. Even good ones. I know that. I’ve learned that. Especially in the last few months.

The point of this blog, though, is not for me to talk about leaving things behind. It’s to talk about Full Circles. And the first Full Circle that I’ve made this year took place at the 24 Hour Marathon…

So, my Freshman Year…I was easily intimidated by the hulking Upper-Classmen. And in my Freshman 24 Hour Marathon, the Baton was being handed to me by the most intimidating Senior I’ve ever met: Adam. Before Adam was on the Cross Country Team…he was a Football Player. Do you see where I’m going with this? Basically, Adam was this huge wall of pure muscle who often took pleasure in getting an occasional…jump out of me (totally harmless). So, there he was, sprinting the last 100 meters of his mile right at me. Right at me! There I stood, this tiny Freshman. There he was, this monstrous Senior. And one was about to converge upon the other.

Adam let out a feral roar.

I let out a feeble whimper.

Adam sprinted closer. (Did I mention he was the number one sprinter on our Track team too? He was.)

I held out my hand and started to jog along, waiting for the Baton to pass from the lion to the lamb. Adam was going too fast, though…

I started to speed up-!

But it was too late.

Adam crashed into me and the Baton flew into the air. Time seemed to move like molasses as everyone’s eyes watched the Baton spiral through the air…Somewhere, I think a baby started crying. Somewhere, I thought I heard a cardboard box full of puppies start whimpering.

And the Baton fell. It fell so far for so long. I watched in terror as the Baton hit the ground and bounced once or twice, taunting me, until it came to a rest. I snatched it up and took off sprinting. You can bet, I did not look back. The unfortunate thing about running a mile on a Track, though…is that you go in a circular sort of motion. So, I had to eventually face my teammates. It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. It wasn’t that bad at all, actually.

That’s not the kind of team we are.

And then there’s this year. This year, my Senior Year, on my very first handoff…

Yeah, I dropped the Baton again. I came Full Circle. No matter how much you change over four years, Life has funny ways of reminding you that you are yourself. Freshman Brian and Senior Brian are lightyears different in a lot of ways. I’m taller. I style my hair differently. I have new friends. I’ve had different experiences. (Despite what I may sometimes say, I don’t know that I’m much more mature…) I’ve found acting since then. My sister’s moved out. I’ve taken and passed Chemistry. And I’m taking AP Chemistry. (Jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll pass.) I’ve learned dozens of life lessons from dozens of classic novels. I’ve met people. I’ve forgotten people. I’ve become a new person. Freshman Brian and Senior Brian are so different.

And yet…I still dropped the Baton.

I’d like to think that I’m the same where it counts.

The other night was Senior Night for the Cross Country Team. Our last race on our home course. (I promise this ties in. I really do.) And all the parents made posters of their Senior and their 4 (or however many) years of Cross Country. And I was looking at all these pictures of me, and every year I looked different. Every year I had new hair and a new face and a new style. And yet, I would look at the grin on my face and see an unmistakable likeness to the one I wear now. I could feel the very same grin spread across my face as this thought occurred to me.

I still dropped the baton. I’m still me. I’m still an Idiot. I’m still a Superman in training. I still have that stupid grin. I’m still…Brian.

I’ve come Full Circle.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)