I was sitting on a bench near the iconic lift bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. It was early evening and I had completed Grandma's Marathon that morning. Anyone who's ever run 26.2 miles in one stretch without stopping knows the feeling: a strange mix of two extremes — exhaustion and exhilaration. It's not the runner's high that sometimes happens during a long-distance run, it's what happens when you cross the finish line of a marathon.
"Hey, Tom." The voice was familiar. So was the face.
John. The tall young man standing in front of me, looking down and smiling, was somebody I'd admired from a distance long before we became friends. I'd first seen John T. on a basketball floor when he led his high school team to two state basketball championships. As a college player he led South Dakota State University to two North Central Conference titles. He had a tryout with the Boston Celtics but was cut when they activated Jo-Jo White.