There is fascinating new research now being conducted in the field of “Superior Autobiographical Memory.” Researchers have found a small group of people, only about a dozen or so here in North America, which remembers almost everything about their lives. And when I say “almost everything,” I mean almost everything.For example, there is Louise Owens, a woman now in her late thirties, who can recall every single day of her life since she was 11. She can call from her memory most any detail of her existence down to every meal she has ever eaten, the exact clothes she wore on any given day, and when asked about a specific date, she can even tell you what the weather was like on that date.I would love to have more than a few conversations with this small but remarkable group. I would love to see them put their near super-human powers to work (or watch one of them demolish a game of Trivial Pursuit with a group of unsuspecting players).And I hope we learn a great deal about the human brain from them, maybe even make some advances in the treatment of Alzheimer’s or dementia because of them; but I do not envy them. No, I have a hard enough time trying to forget some of the things from my past as it is. I can’t imagine the mental anguish if I had Superior Autobiographical Memory.The things that lodge like splinters in our brains the deepest are those times and occasions when others have hurt us badly; when we have been wronged; or when we have been violated, mistreated, cheated or harmed. It is impossible to forget these things no matter how many times we are told that “time heals all wounds” and no matter how many times we are counseled by our pastor, priest, or rabbi that we should “forgive and forget.” Forget? No amount of counseling, therapy, hospitalization, or medication – nothing short of a lobotomy – could erase the pain from our memory banks.So most of us do not have to have invincible brain power to recall every day of our lives to suffer from the past; just a few of the days that we remember all too well are sufficiently painful enough. At least those few days are enough for me. The answer to this pain is not in the forgetting. The answer is in the forgiving. I don’t use the word “forgiving” or “forgiveness” glibly, because forgiveness isn’t easy. It certainly isn’t some buzzword from a sermon or a trivial, corny bumper sticker that says something like “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”
Through all the swirling rumors and guessing games, Basha stayed inside the walls.Gerald Todd was named the third football coach in school history on Wednesday morning, according to an email from athletic director Brent Rincon.Todd has been at Basha since 2006, where he has served as an asst. coach under former coaches Tim McBurney and Bernie Busken, and as a social studies teacher.Todd takes over for Busken, who resigned last month after four years at the school, including a 6-6 record in 2013. Spring football begins in a couple weeks.Prior to coming to Basha, Todd had a couple stints at Carlsbad High (N.M.) as both a teacher and an assistant coach (1997-99, 2001-06) with running backs, and later as offensive coordinator. He also coached in Texas from 1992-1995 and 1999-2001.Todd played and began his coaching career at Abilene Christian University (Tex.) in the early-to-mid 1990s. He graduated from Abilene Christian with a degree in political science in 1989 and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from New Mexico State in 2002.
In coaching circles, the cliché regarding exceptional athletes is, “This kind of athlete does not come along very often.” For the Red Mountain High School Girls’ Track Team, the saying would be, “These kinds of athletes do not come along very often together.” Enter seniors Tayler Jameson, Abbie Sharkey, and Kristiana Warth, a trio of pole vaulters who have been competing at the highest levels in the state for several years. With all three clearing 12 feet in the indoor season, the girls are in rare company in terms of the number of athletes over a mark for a season at one school.Much of the credit is of course due to their dedication to their discipline, but they’ve had help along the way from current pole vault coaches Cara Manis and Blair Howland as well as elite vaulters Dean and Jill Starkey. Combined with an early start in vaulting years ago, the results thus far in their careers is quite noticeable. “All of our coaches have done a great job pushing us to big meets,” says Warth. “It has been great having all three of us at those meets to push each other and make sure that we support each other on our best and worst days.”What is more amazing is their ability not only to push and support each other on the track, but also in the classroom. With GPA’s of 3.64, 3.952, and 4.729, and class ranks of 163, 90, and 6, Warth, Jameson and Sharkey, respectively, each lady has opened opportunities to progress to college and be successful. “My commitment to track gives me less time for homework, but it forces me to make good decisions about the time I dedicate to homework,” says Sharkey. “It also makes me more focused when I’m doing homework because I know I need to get it done correctly the first time.”But in all their time at Red Mountain there have been ups and downs for sure in each of their careers. Jameson suffered a stress fracture in her foot her Sophomore year, Warth spent much of her Junior year fighting a quad injury, and Sharkey had a lingering ankle and elbow injury that hampered her results at times. However, as their head coach, Brent Krieg, says, “They have remained positive, upbeat, and always dedicated to the process of improving, learning, and working hard for their goals. They have unconditional support for each other and lead our team both on and off the track.”With the end of the season looming, results are definitely important. However, the ladies remain confident in their bond as athletes. “It helps when we travel to big meets like Arcadia, the Chandler Rotary, and State because we have teammates who are competing right next to each other and we know we have each other’s back,” said Jameson. This is the atmosphere that Red Mountain coaches have instilled since taking over the program. “Our athletes are expected to be supportive of their teammates no matter the event in which they compete. The culture we’ve created in the past couple of years is partly a by-product of these pole vaulters’ willingness to compete against each other while at the same time hoping that each of them does better every meet.”The question will remain whether the formula works by the end of their high school careers, but for the trio of vaulters their grades, training, and competition has led them to several options for the future. Yet, their biggest impact has been to help create a team of athletes who care for each other, work hard, and cherish the success based on process. Truly, “These kinds of athletes do not come along very often together.”