The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. Muhammad Ali
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan
My granddaughter’s University of Arizona’s graduation announcement said Magna Cum Laude. Mine said “Good Luck”. Dave Doerrer
Previously on Living a Dream
Dave: Maybe you should focus on something else for the time being.
Garry: Like what?
Dave: Oh, I dunno. Maybe something like, “Two old guys humbly training with ALTIS and living a dream.”
The interview with Steve Lewis is set and the Dave and Garry show is on the road. It’s early evening and out spirits are high.
Author’s note: ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ Especially when the interviewers forget to take notes on the unique ambiance of Maverick Coffee. So link up and get you some.
We find Steve chatting amiably with a young lady who could have been a friend or a customer.
Steve: Here’s the boys now. Glad you could make it. Can I get you some coffee? You know what you like or can I make some suggestions?
I’m sure the brew he suggests is of savory aroma and beguiling palate, but it’s lost on me. I’m too busy rifling my pockets for my grubby but brilliant glom of interview questions.
Steve: Black ok with you boys?
Dave: Works for me.
Garry: (grunting absently) Yeah, me too.
Steve: (as the young lady moves sprightly off to get our coffee) I don’t think she knows who I am. But I’m sure she’ll take care of us. I told her I know the owner. Gotta take care of you boys, you know.
Dave: So you getting a girl or a boy?
Garry: (having fished out his Interview questions) Do you have any cream?
Dave: In my experience black coffee usually doesn’t come with cream
Garry: Did I say black?
Dave: I think you agreed to it.
Garry: Dang! Really. My bad. Can I get some cream?
Steve: You can get anything you want, man. Just ask me.
Garry: Right, you know the owner.
The waitress returns with the coffee. My cream request is promptly honored and I’ve located my questions. Game on! Unfortunately at exactly that moment I overload my cup with cream and cause my first spill.
Garry: Whoops! I think I need to slow down.
Steve: (producing a cleaning cloth seemingly out of thin air) Too much cream, Garry?
I move the cup quickly out of Steve’s cleaning path. Too quickly! A slog of coffee literally leaps out of the cup onto the table.
Steve: I think you might need some more cream there, Garry. What do you think, Dave? A Liter of cream for Garry?
Dave: I think he needs a Sippy cup.
Garry: Maybe you should get me a straw.
Dave: (shifting gears) So the body’s holding up better than last year (2015) maybe? I remember you were struggling at times.
Steve: Yeah, we changed things up this year with our loading. So just backed off in the weight room. Still lifting weights but like smaller sections. More frequent but smaller. And with sprinting, backed off doing any really fast stuff. So I’m doing 80% and staying healthy all the time, and it’s working, man. Took me two years to figure it out, and I have faith in it too. That’s the problem, you know. You can change a program, but if you’re like, “I’m not doing what I used to do. I’m not going to be good.” Scary, you know.
Garry: Yeah, I can see that. (pause) So how old are you?
Steve: Turning thirty in twenty some days.
Garry: You don’t look a day over twenty-eight.
Steve: Dude, that’s solid. I’ll take that.
Dave: You don’t act over twenty-four.
Steve: I try not to man. Gotta keep up with the kids. No, it’s funny. I don’t feel old, and not that thirty’s old, but in a sport context it kind of is. So I started young, jumping high when I was nineteen. Eleven years ago. So you think, that’s almost a decade of doing the same thing. And now I’m jumping with kids who are nineteen, twenty, twenty-one. So I’m the older guy now. Which is funny. But I don’t feel like the older guy and that’s kind of cool.
Garry: How did you come to choose the pole vault?
Steve: I did pretty much everything growing up. Swimming, gymnastics, tennis, track & field. My whole life’s been sports, you know? And then with the pole vault it was like as I got better, I got more interested. As I got more interested, I got more serious.
Garry: Do you come from an athletic family?
Steve: Not really. My brother did the same as me. My dad played soccer, and then he played badminton on a pretty high level. But he never wanted us to do team sports. He just kind of thought that the politics of team sports wasn’t good. He didn’t like that when he was playing, so he was like, “Do an individual sport like gymnastics.”
Garry: Gymnastics, you need good balance for that. I would think that would be very important in pole vaulting.
Steve: It’s such a good sport for youngsters. I could still do tricks that I haven’t done in twenty years, you know. It’s incredible how, if you live with that every day…I think I was five or six when I started. Then I did it for five or six years after that and it’s just in me. Like that timing and the feeling, and the skills.
Dave: So if you were standing on the edge of a cliff, you could just do a back flip and save yourself?
Garry: Or when you do a winning vault you could celebrate with a back flip?
Steve: It’s honestly like riding a bike. If you learn it, you have the confidence jus to do it and that’s all it is. It’s just confidence.
Garry: Growing up, did you have any sports heroes?
Steve: I was always a big Muhammad Ali fan. I had all the poster, all the quotes so that was kind of my bedroom theme.
Garry: How cool is that? I was a Muhammad Ali fan before he was Muhammad Ali. You know we’re close to the same age, him and me?
Steve: That’s cool. I was always a big fan of him and Michael Jordan. Obviously watching Jordan in his heyday.
Dave: So you thing you’ll compete after the (2016) Olympics?
Steve: Yeah, for sure. I’ll go through the 2017 World Championships back in Olympic Stadium in London. That’s kind of nice career for me.
Garry: Ending back home, so to speak?
Steve: Yeah, like the last year and then I’ve got to decide if pole vault fits into my life. You, know, I’ve got a family. I’ve got a bunch of obligations.
Air Lewis update: Most recent competition. ALTIS Track & Field Invitational at Paradise Valley Community College on 5/21/16. Cleared 5.56 meters (18 feet 3 inches in American). Attempted 5.71(Olympic qualifying height is 5.70) which is well within Steve’s wheelhouse.
Coming up in Living a Dream: Coffee With the Boys II
- Steve shares appreciation of mentor Dan Pfaff, ALTIS legendary Head Coach
- Garry goes sleuthing on a rumor that Constance Delaney is living in Scottsdale
- Link to Dave and Garry doin work on the track. A must see event!