Walking the Gentle Path



My sons-in-law, Chris and Shane, love it when I arrive in Vancouver because they are keen to put me through a major test to see if I still have it. This year was no exception. They took me on a 8.5 hour adventure up to Crown Mountain outside of the city.   Mind you,  I’m part Malaysian now so an hour into the hike we are into major snow on the ground, I am wearing running shoes, and my toes are beginning to go numb with 7 hours left.  The fear of freezing to death passes from head through the rest of my body.  I think to myself that Shane and Chris really got me this time.   But then a miracle happens; me toes thaw just into time for the 1.5 hour assault up Crown with a 60-70 degree face.   Now it is endurance, but I already have the secret weapon.

Early in the hike, at the beginning, while we were climbing up Grouse Mountain,  I just realize that if I slow down, walk gently on the ground being aware of how I place my feet down that my journey to the top will be much more enjoyable.   It seems like every other time I did the hike up Grouse, I was so concerned about the time that I forgot to enjoy the hike.  The joy was in the time, not the hike.  A wave of calm settles over me as I slow down and walk gently.

So then it begins to dawn on me that gentleness is highly undervalued in sport.  It takes me back to Brazil being in a culture that dances in gentleness and how that translates into ball control skills like no other place in the world and how Brazilians allow you into a relationship by never speaking too harshly or imposing themselves too much on you, but yet  always wanting your company.    I think about how soft your hands have to be play volleyball and how nice the ground feels to play touch barefooted, and how often we use the word “sweet” in basketball.

Today I am thinking about my first day of teaching and the new staff and students entering the school that my first steps with them will be slow and gentle.  They are tender so I probably shouldn’t try to impose a great deal of harsh routines and expectations on them in beginning moments.   I think maybe that they are looking to the joy of the hike instead of the report card and results.


2 Responses to “Walking the Gentle Path”

  1. Juliet Says:

    great post dad!

  2. gymjane Says:

    Mr. Richard:) It is always a gift to have you with us. Any of you folks out there, if you get a chance to go for a hike with Mr. Richard, DO IT! It is not just a journey outside, but a journey on the inside as well. And he’s bang on with being gentle. Chris and I started out, back in April, slow, gentle, in no rush. And the results have been tremendous, both physically and within ourselves. And it’s been fun:)


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