Back Home Again
July 29, 1989
Jordan YMCA Triathlon
Back Home Again in Indiana for my first triathlon and more in the state where I entered the world and lived for twenty-two years. My dad retired after twenty plus years working for the State and the family, co-workers, and friends celebrated with him. The party, originally scheduled for February but heavy snowfall cancelled flights and closed interstates prevented travel so the celebration took place late July. Things happen for a reason with random events having meaning or so people believe.
My dad, Taylor, “Tim” Morris, enjoyed different professions during his careers. He served in the U.S. Army 97th Infantry Division, where he served in three theaters of World War II attaining the rank of Supply Sergeant. He also earned a Bronze Star while liberating Czechoslovakia from Nazi Germany. After returning to the States and graduating from Indiana University, he became a loan officer. Attending night school he earned additional degrees in teaching and psychology at Ball State University. He switched careers to teach teenagers about health in the New Castle public school system and also served as a guidance counselor. After the Baby Boomer birth budge ended, he changed careers and sold stainless steel around the country to fuel America’s building boom in the mid 1960’s. He closed out his professional career at various governor appointed positions. Dad also served a term as a state representative and sponsored legislation to establish the Official Seal of Indiana. As an entrepreneur he planted, trimmed, cut, and sold Scotch pine Christmas trees with help from Mom and all his kids to fund our college tuitions. On weekends he wrote special topic articles for his hometown newspaper. One of his passions was to campaign for elected officials on the city, county, state, and national level. Dad did other activities none of us kids knew about. He earned his retirement celebration and we celebrated with him as he scoped out his next journey.
Family, traveling, and racing are my favorite trio of life. The trip to Indy provided all three of these personal passions and life’s philosophy: “Why do only one thing on a trip when I can cram in more activities”. My sister Greta, and her husband, Joe, hosted the celebration Saturday after the race.
We raced at Indianapolis’ Eagle Creek Park where paddling events for the 1987 Pan American Games were held. The reservoir held clean and clear water with a sandy bottom at the start/finish of the swim leg. The smooth roads for the bike leg offered a slightly rolling terrain with minimal car traffic. The trees along the running course provided lots of shade for all competitor and spectators. .
Dad and Greta arrived early to watch the race, cheer me on, and snap pictures. They joined 75 -- 100 triathletes and a similar amount of spectators, volunteers, sponsors, and race coordinators. One picture showed a guy in a red and white striped Speedo, wearing a maroon colored University of Chicago Track Club (UCTC) jersey, and goofy green framed Eddie Bauer sunglasses that looked like a bad attempt of sport glasses. The single lens glasses were about the size of car windshield. Man, even the fashion police were scared to approach someone in this outfit. Any resemblance of the person to me was purely a coincidence.
Living in Iowa now, none of the competitors looked familiar. We left shortly after finishing the race since the transition remained open to remove equipment throughout the morning. We needed to get back to Greta’s to handle final preparation for Dad’s party guests. Didn’t check results.
We celebrated Dad’s retirement in the afternoon with a similar number of participants that completed in the morning race. Dad’s family, friends, and former co-workers came better dressed and with more clothing than the triathletes. They consumed more food and beverages than the racers. After the party ended, we cleaned up then parted in different directions.
Woke up Sunday morning on a couch in my childhood home in New Castle. During a recovery run with our dog, Woody, we retraced routes covered over and over and over while training for cross country, track and road races while living there from birth until graduating college in 1981. The race write-up in the Indianapolis Star newspaper listed me as first place in the 30-34 age group. “I’ll be damned,” was my verbal response and mentally the race effort and outcome created a new feeling of confidence to race competitively. Well, at least in smaller races.
If Dad’s retirement celebration occurred on its original date in February, none of us would have been at the Indy race in late July. Without the confidence gained at Eagle Creek, my triathloning might have stopped years ago. Maybe there is a reason why things happen. We took our fate from the weather and celebrated a varied work life of a parent.
Results: 8th overall. 1st in age group.