1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Alex McLaughlin  July 4, 2010
(Aka He who runs like a deer)

I was dreaming one night and my friend Rick Hughes was outside running around in circles getting ready for a big road race that he was running. I asked him if he got dizzy running in circles and he said “McLaughlin, I learned everything I knew from growing up in Alderson, West Virginia”. He refused to admit that he was training for a race much less that he was running in circles. So I tried a different tact and asked him if he thought my wife was smarter than me because I knew he knew the answer to this one. He said “McLaughlin that would be in the affirmative. “ 

As I was running around in circles one day in my dreams getting ready for a big race, Rick caught me and asked what in the world was I doing running around in circles. I indicated that I have it on good counsel that running in circles could actually be better for you than running in straight lines. I also assured him that it had nothing to do with preparing for a race because I was afraid that he would videotape all my practice runs and analyze them to find holes in my tactics and strategies. 

My wife one time wanted to know why Rick and I ran in circles and every September ran a race. She asked,” Are you two crazy”. My response, “The Lord has given me and Rick reasonably good physical health. I don’t think we dare ask for anything more.” 

As I am running in circles this morning. I start thinking why all the commotion and money associated with where LeBron James plays basketball? Rick and I are two honed runners totally committed to preparing for and participating in the competition. We get very little publicity and the only compensation is the satisfaction of using advanced, secretive training formulas to try to beat each other.  

Now it is true that we no longer pick up our feet when we run. We kind of shuffle along. Shuffle along to Buffalo. Did you hear the one about the friend who asked the other friend if he had flown to Buffalo and the friend said, “Yeah and gosh my arms are tired.” 

Rick and I being great athletes don’t have agents, contracts with NBA teams, or contracts with advertisers. We run in almost complete anonymity except for the few readers on The Aldersonian who don’t get mad when we write about our running achievements (namely the ability to one way or another finish the races every September.) 

The comparisons between Lebron and Rick and I are baffling. James hugs his competition before and after each game. These guys are all millionaires with their own individual business model. Competitors. What?? Rick talks about tripping me before each race and has made some wild claims that there was a pebble in his shoe with the intimation that I had something to do with it. I have offered to watch over Rick’s shoes the night before the race and mislead him on the starting times in order for him to miss the race. We go out to eat together after the competition but only because our wives like each other and go along to keep the peace. Great runners need to show some humility and vulnerability.  I hope Rick is listening to all of this and getting the assurance that his opponent is weakening. 

It is ironic that professional athletes who are paid millions dollars to beat each other in games seem to get along so well with each other. On the other hand, republicans and democrats who are sent to Washington to work for the betterment of America, don’t seem to get along well at all. 

My wandering mind is jolted by Rick jumping up enthusiastically to greet me and say,” Hey Al! How have you been?” Rick said,” My grandson Richard, better known as Ritchie, exact quote. Alderson is pretty Grandpa. Another exact quote. Why is everyone so friendly in Alderson Grandpa? It does not get much better than that” 

Happy Fourth of July Alderson, West Virginia