MY 'short' life in high school

By Tim Robinson

Much of my "short" liife in high school (I was 5-3" as a sophomore) centered around hero worship. Sitting in P.E. class that week I listened at roll call. "Bamburg--here", "Baldwin--here," etal. When the coach got to "Salterelli", my ears perked. I'd heard about a boy named Salterelli who was a very fast runner at Cascade Junior High.

Though I never turned out for the track team in junior high, I always thought I was a fast runner. I was small and light, maybe 105 lbs. Larry Salterelli was built kind of square, not heavy, not lean. He had a chiseled jaw line, even at age 16.

Out on the track that Spring we were running test sprints. I think the coach was looking for track stars of the future. I sprinted my best while the coach timed us. Twelve seconds for 100 yards. I knew that wasn't very fast. I'd done that the year before too
.
Larry got down in a crouch, sprinting out at "go" finishing with a grimaced look in his face. "ten-five", the coach yelled. Whew! That was fast. That began my hero worship. I knew I could never run that fast but I really enjoyed watching Larry run.

Jim Rees was 5-10 and 180 lbs standing nearly a head taller than me and certainly more physically mature. He was shaving!

He was also the starting QB on the team. A wonderful athlete with an even better, humble nature. I became a team manager mostly out of admiration for Jim.

One of my duties on that sand field practice area was to clean the mouth guards when players accidentally dropped them during a scrimmage. Why me?, I don't know. Regardless, I raced into the locker room with the sand-filled mouth piece, rinsed it off and returned it to the player. It never dawned on me that I should just keep a pail of clean water on the sideline and dunk the mouthpiece into a cup of water there. I guess we only learn things in small doses.

I was quite proud to work with the team. Tim Powel, Eugene Hodgson
and Jim Arnold were also managers. What they did I cannot recall but they must have been useful. Riding the team bus to games and sorting all the muddy game gear afterwards in the drying room was difficult.
I could barely lift the wet uniforms.
At the end of the year, when the school letters were handed out at assembly, coach Robeck came up to me and said I would not be getting a letter presented on stage because they had to give my letter to one of the sophomore players who actually "played" in a game or two. That I would be getting a "letter
" mailed to me after the school year was out. I was tremendously hurt by this as walking on stage was singularly important to me, as I am certain it was to the player who got my letter.

If there was a message there, it was that I needed to roll with the punches. I accepted this event with dismay and did not manage the team the following year. It turned out to be a good decision. I became the Wolverine Annual photographer with Jim Kennelly, my next hero, who's dad was shooting pictures of kids on Pinto Ponies in the 40's. Jim had a darkroom at his house. In winter, in the shed where he kept his darkroom, we had to wear Eskimo parkas to keep warm while we tried to develop our film and print our pictures. We'd start by breaking the ice in the trays and heating them up to 70 degrees. For all our trouble we produced some really nice pictures there. Jim is a detail man; very much into quality. I was fast so Jim would slow me down to do it right. He had something I lacked...patience. His deliberate style helped me realize how much better I could be if I slowed down.
This helped with my golf swing years later as we played together quite often. He is very good and competitive. We traded the same dollar back and forth after an 18-hole match for many years.

I recently attended our 50 HS reunion. I teased some former classmates that I'd finally achieved my adult size (just that week). So many names I knew but faces I did not. It must have been the same for them too. Friends I'd looked up to, in more ways than one, were eye to eye with me now. While my admiration had not changed, I realized what was important. It is not physical size but the breadth of your friendships that count. In that I did not come up short.

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