Friday, October 16, 2009

Eat my dust, Mrs. B

This is one of those "discouraging teacher" story--many of us have at least one of those. Katy wasn't the most sportive of girls in high school. The will was there, but her small size made it difficult to shine on, say, the basketball or volleyball court, against the more robustly sized girls around her. Still she was at a small high school, where everyone got to be on the teams, regardless of talent. So she was on the teams. Not that the coaches ever played her much. Once her volleyball coach accidentally forgot to rotate her off before she reached the serving position, and when he saw her getting ready to serve, he tried to call an emergency time-out as a diversionary tactic to get her off the court. Nice. That's not even the discouraging teacher part of the story.

Eventually another one of the teachers, Mrs. B, called Katy and her equally athletically talented best friend into her office for a chat. Mrs. B suggested that "little Katy" and her best buddy "find some new friends," and stop hanging around the athletic girls, where they didn't fit in. Gee, thanks Mrs. B.

Fast forward. Katy is going to run her first marathon. Her high school best friend sends her a t-shirt that says "Eat my dust, Mrs. B." And Katy wears it to bed the night before the race and wakes up inspired and ready to run 26.2 miles. Fast forward another year or so and Katy, who feels strongly about the empowerment possibilities of sports for women, starts a company that sells cool stuff for women runners. One of the very first customers she has, you didn't quite guess it...Mrs. B's daughter. A note from Mrs. B follows soon after, with congratulations on Katy's venture.

For Katy, it was better than any apology might have been.

It's funny how the world and time can fold back around on itself in new and improved ways, isn't it? (Now if my high school English teacher would just send me a note about how me liked my novel...but that's another story.)