I grew up with two younger brothers and I am blessed to say that we are very close. I blame it on the fact that we grew up in the middle of nowhere, so we had to get along in order to have fun as kids. No complaints here. Actually, they have taught me a lot throughout my life. Being the oldest (and a Taurus), I know that I worked hard to lead the way for my brothers, but could be stubborn to ask for any help.
Because I am the oldest, I put pressure on myself to do the best job on everything I could. I got straight A’s through high school, I was in sports year-round, I did musicals, and all the choirs I could. I really did enjoy it and would not change any of it. Though I was driven to not let my brothers down.
My youngest brother, Joel, didn’t have it as easy. For me, tests and homework were challenging in a good way and it came easy to me. Joel, on the other hand, would work so hard and still not succeed. My parents did everything they could to help him along. They created a reward system for simple things: getting chores done, doing homework, getting good grades, etc. At the time, I was jealous.
Time progressed and they both followed into sports as well. Brent (my other amazing brother) and I were cruising along in school, both getting great grades. Joel still fought so hard to bring home good news. I’m not sure when the switch flipped, but I started noticing a change.
Joel became so disciplined to achieve good grades, that the hard work was paying off. In high school, he joined track, following in the footsteps of Brent and I. Unlike myself, my brothers were extraordinarily athletic and skilled in track and field events. Soon, both of my brothers were doing field events that sent them soaring in the air, literally.
They both worked on jumping events like high jump, long jump, and pole vault. Pole vault is an extremely difficult feat to master, but Joel seemed to click with it. As high school went on, his vaults were higher. So much so that he tied the high school record. The man he tied it with happened to find out and contacted him for recruiting to Marquette University where he was the pole vaulting coach.
Today, he has won so many medals that I can’t even count (including Big East Conference Champion) and has set an incredible amount of PRs (personal records) as well as now holding the Freshman pole vaulting record at Marquette. He is about to start his last year at Marquette and will get getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering. The amount of gushing I have over what he has accomplished is never-ending.
To be able to see him struggle and work through so much in his life and to watch him succeed at anything he puts his mind to now, is an amazing testament to how perseverance and hard work will pay off.
All this to say, when there was a spontaneous street vaulting event that happened just the other day in downtown Louisville, I was reminded of him. You need to have an incredible amount of core strength to vault consistently and successfully. At the end of a focused run down the runway, the vaulter has to plant the pole into the pit whilst pulling together all his strength and trust he has for the pole to correctly curve and drive him into the air. Seeing this happen was a perfect opportunity to capture curves for this week’s Project 52 prompt.