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Nerd Becomes Jock

The educator Piaget talks about the abstract mind forming roughly during puberty. I started an alternative school at about that time in my life, and I have very clear memories of realizing that there was more than one way to do things in society. The school I'd left was the R.M. Nixon Elementary, after finishing 5th grade, in 1974, the year of Nixon's resignation.

But perhaps most important was the realization that one could change oneself - which I did, picking up whitewater kayaking and competing in same in the slalom classes. This is a clipping from the North Eugene High School paper by Rick Peacor.

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In the spring of my Junion High School year I went east to train with a former UofO physics post-grad employed by the Oakridge National Laboratories in Tennessee. Attending school in Oakridge was an experience unto itself. The city has the highest per capita of PHD's in the world. The school was certainly smart as well, but also managed to be regular winners of the State Football Championship (something my Oregon school was able to do the year after I graduated under Quarterback Gary Stott and a black running back, just about the only black in the school.) The school was big into partying as well. It definitely still had racial issues - being only about ten miles away from places where black churches had been bombed.

As a result of some of the extra credit associated with AP classes at this school I was able to graduate a semester early. I do still have some gaps in my math knowledge, advanced Trig, but the guy who spent three years in an alternative school basically doing nothing but socializing still scored a 700 on his Math SAT.

The picture was taken by my father, at a race in North Carolina Smokies hosted by the Nantahala Outdoor Center


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