By Donny Shankle
I’ve seen whales up close on two separate occasions. Once in Alaska and the other time in Antarctica. In Antarctica, I was a mere arm distance from a pod of Humpbacks. They were so close I thought they would tip the boat. On the first sighting they were coming head on towards us. The second time we stealthily approached them as they were sleeping. You could hear them breathing through their blowholes from a good distance back. As I got closer you could see them rise and fall in the water with each breath they took.
In nature where there are only few sounds like the cold wind beating against your face or the waves pushing your boat along, my mind was clear. I felt both excitement and alertness so as not to miss anything around me. Tingles and shivers went up my spine because of the freezing Antarctic cold and the close proximity of the whales. I reached out and touched the back of the leviathan. I felt its cold rubbery skin with the tips of my fingers and as I put my glove back on, I wondered if such a marvelous creature of God could even feel my touch. Before I had the chance to answer my own question though the whales disappeared down into the deep. Down deep into the dark water they swam as our boat went back to the main ship. Just before disembarking I saw out through the white and hazy mist of falling snow and rain a fluke coming up from the water as if saying thank you for your visit.
The best cue you can learn in the gym is tomorrow is another day. Improvement is a slow and mundane process but you will get better if you stay committed. I never thought I’d see a whale as close as I saw one in Alaska. I was about ten feet from one and was filled with wonder. Surely that’s as close as a man could safely get to such an incredible animal. Tomorrow however led me to a much closer experience. In Antarctica they were beneath my boat close enough to touch. I didn’t see that coming but after that experience now I want to get in the water with them.
It’s important for you to keep going into the gym and working hard. Get in there first and leave last. Listen to your coach and push your teammates as much as you would want them to push you. If today didn’t quite measure up to what you wanted, tomorrow is another day. Worry not for there are many wondrous whales waiting to welcome you on the horizon. There are even many more waiting for you to swim with them in the deep.