To the Beat of Your Own Drum

Endurance sports have always been appealing to me. I love being a fan as well as participating from time to time. There’s something special about pitting oneself against the clock, other competitors. Whether you succeed or fail is up to you, and not really dependent upon other teammates passing you a ball.

Don’t get me wrong. I love team sports such as football, baseball, lacrosse and basketball. I played some of them in high school and have fond memories from those times. Yet, I wonder how well I would have done in sports such as track and field and cross country. During my teenage years, those sports didn’t have a pull on me like they do now. I get to live vicariously in my parenting years through my children, who excel at swimming and running.

Cross country running is very special to me (see page 59). I think it’s my favorite high school and college sport to watch. Every course is different and varied. Some are hilly, others flat. The runners glide through woodlands, orchards and city parks. Spectators have a fun time figuring out where the best spots to watch are, and then once they see their kids, they try to get to another good viewing location before the runners get there. Sometimes I’m not sure who’s getting more exercise – the parents or the athletes!

Cross country and other similar sports are not a part of the norm when it comes to high school athletes. You can say that these kids “run” to the beat of their own drum. They love individuality and being reliant on themselves and their abilities. There are others who took this same spirit of uniqueness and created beautiful art and successful businesses.

Walter Taylor can be described as a rebel and a unique individual. Through his commitment to being himself and doing things his way, a special winery was created – Bully Hill Vineyards near Hammondsport (see page 10). He was also a talented artist. Although Walter is no longer with us, his business and artwork live on, leaving a legacy for future artists and winemakers.

We expect to see ballet dancers on a lighted stage, performing to music of Tchaikovsky. Yet, photographer Julie Bertram sees the beauty of the outdoors and dancers going hand in hand. Through her unique vision, she has captured impressive photographs of young, graceful women dancing to the rhythm of nature (see page 50).

Here’s to the unique individual in each of us. All we have to do is learn how to nurture that part.


by Mark Stash, mark@lifeinthefingerlakes.com