Isaac is a local kid. I first became aware of him many years ago when as a toddler he would come into Vic’s, my local coffee shop, with his mom and older sister. At that point, he was just an engaging little boy from the neighborhood. Fast forward a decade or so, and Claire, his older sister, begins appearing in the sports sections as an excellent high school track and cross-county athlete who will eventually go to the University of Arizona on scholarship. As Claire is finishing out her high school career, Isaac arrives on the scene, doing very well even as a freshman. He concluded his high school career with a total of six state championships in both cross-country and track, and he has just gone off to the University of Washington with his own athletic scholarship.
I’ve had a soft spot for these two for a long time, owing to our early acquaintance. I enjoy seeing a local child pursue a passion and excel, no matter whether in the arts, academics, or athletics.
This summer, as I’ve been training for a triathlon, I’ve encountered Isaac a number of times as he’s been running up on the mesa. I’ve been biking, he’s been running. Early this summer, before I had begun my triathlon project, I was riding my mountain bike on the trails and noticed a runner ahead of me. I wasn’t gaining on him; he was running faster than I was riding (10 mph). This is a serious runner. I found out it was Isaac when he stopped at the overlook, allowing me to catch up and ride on by.
As the summer has continued, I’ve seen Isaac up on the mesa a few more times. Sometimes I see him from a distance and sometimes I pass him, on what I imagine to be his “slow” distance days. A few weeks ago, my partner ran into his mother and they had a brief conversation. His mom stated that both of her children made their college choices based on what they wanted for athletics while also giving consideration to what would suit them in having a balanced life with academics and a social life as well. I was heartened to hear of a family that while having children who are excellent athletes, values them as whole human beings, knowing that more than sport will be needed in their future.
As I began working on this post, I did some research on Isaac, wanting to make sure I had my facts straight. One of the articles I read was this one from the Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/20/isaac-green-distance-running-monarch/. It turns out that Isaac has had his own struggles, with an eye coordination issue that made it very difficult for him to learn to read, not finishing his first “big book” until he was a 6th grader. He’s managed well despite this, graduating from high school with a 3.68 GPA, but it doesn’t appear to have been easy. He worked as a student aide for a severely disabled boy at his school as a sophomore, and from this experience found a career interest; he plans to study special education.
The manager of Vic’s is Jenny. She, too, has known Isaac a long time. As it turns out, their birthdays are a day apart, so they’ve shared celebrations over the years, and she’s had a much closer interaction with Isaac and his family than I. She’s a big fan of Isaac, proud of all of his accomplishments, but even more impressed by his character “he’s just the nicest, politest, sweetest young man!” She was visibly affected by emotion when she told me that he came into Vic’s to say goodbye to her before he left for college last week.
I began this article with me chasing Isaac on my bike as he ran. I’m ending it cheering for Isaac, and wishing him well as he exemplifies what it is to be an excellent human being. I hope to live up to his example of treating others with respect and wanting to make a difference in the world. Isaac, you inspire me and others. Thank you, and have a great time at college!