What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I Smoked Some of Coach’s Peyote

My track coach is a first rate beast. To hear him tell it, he’s fought grisly bear’s with his bare hands, run just shy of the world record pace in the hardest sprint distances, killed with his bare hands, been on dates with the most beautiful women, built a four story building with his bare hands, coached the state’s best track stars, and killed some of the state's best track stars with his bare hands, just to name a few of his escapades.

"If you ain't first, you're last." - Coach

He’s done it all and he’s done it well. Success just isn’t interesting for him anymore because he’s experienced so much of it. Fast speeds to us collegiate runners are slower than his middle school times and he doesn’t see much reason to praise performances that are so far “below par.”

“If you can’t run the mile under four minutes, why do you run it at all?” - Coach

Our coach has the spirit of Vince Lombardi, the reputation of Chuck Norris, the endurance of John Rambo and the heart of Rocky Balboa. He’s got the dominance of the Sixties Celtics, the touch of Jordan and the legend of Tiger; he’s a one man Hall of Fame.

That’s why a lot of eyebrows were raised when we discovered a snuff box in coach’s glove compartment that read “Coach’s Peyote – Do Not Touch.”

In case you’ve never been on an Indian Reservation, peyote is a highly hallucinogenic compound derived from the juice of a cactus that is used in religious ceremonies by our indigenous brothers. According to ancient custom, the stuff is powdered and placed in a pipe to be consumed ritually. By ritually, I mean sitting in a cave for several days until even cactus juice seems attractive. It’s also supposed to be very noxious smelling and induce feelings of nausea in the user. We never knew coach was a Native American, but that really didn’t really matter; he had a hallucinogen!

What I did after the discovery was highly experimental and is not suggested for any of the faithful FCN few to attempt on their own. In fact, peyote is designated only for use in Indian religious ceremonies according to Title 42. So unless you want to got to jail and spend a lot of long years with people like me, don’t do what I am about to describe, ok kids?

We did a little research to find the right coagulants and mixed up a batch. One of my fellow track runners was an old hand at rolling a joint (a skill he never explained) and I was soon equipped with a lit peyote “stick” and a series of chanted instructions to “puff, puff, puff!”

Native American tradition says that when you inhale the peyote fumes, an image of your “spirit animal” will fill your senses. My first whiff filled my mind with the bulging image of my track coach, whistle, stopwatch and all. Then I felt it; inhuman strength began welling up in my arms and I felt a quiet power fill my chest and loins. I had the ability to predict any outcome, win any bet, swim any ocean, jump any canyon and smash any window. I could even climb every mountain, ford every stream, and follow every rainbow until I found my dream.

I didn’t know how, but inside I knew I had a great hand with the ladies, could race a 4x4 brilliantly and how to pinch the jugular with finger and thumb for a quick, quiet kill. I could feel thick hair bursting through the skin of my chest.

That’s when a coughing spell hit. As quickly as the images appeared, I was my old lonesome self once again. Gone were the supernatural abilities and astounding skill. My coach disappeared into a cloud of vapor and I immediately doubted whether or not I had even seen him in the first place.

It took over twelve hours before my system flushed all the peyote out and I relearned my lesson about consuming exotic unknown substances. But it was all worth it to see the hollowed shell of a man who met us in coach’s place at the next practice. Gone were his pompous posture, long-winded stories and excessive gloating. No longer were his criticisms so harsh and he even lost a little weight.

While we were stretching, Coach looked us over and asked with an accusatory note, “Has anyone been in my truck?”

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