September 3, 2003

King a Role Model For All Seasons

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So you are a freshman, and you were an All-American in high school. So you had the lead in the school play. So you had straight A’s senior year.

So what?

This is college. A time to re-invent yourself, try new things, and most importantly, grow as a person. Maybe being all those things got you to Cornell, but they most likely aren’t going to keep you here. You have to do that yourself.

So allow me to offer you some advice:

Walk in beauty. Stay in beauty.

It’s an old Navajo saying, and if you’re having problems understanding it, you should ask around. If you’re still looking for answers you might try the track, because there is a sophomore harrier who definitely knows the meaning.

He isn’t like most students at Cornell. Sure he goes to classes — around 21 credits worth of engineering every semester. Sure, he’s an athlete, and there are a lot of those at Cornell. He’s also in the glee club (about 50 of those guys, too, for those of you playing the home game).

But how many do all that? How many do all three?

Better yet, how many are that involved in extra curriculars and still manage to make the dean’s list?

I know of one. His name is Greg King.

It’s easy to spot Greg. He’s that kid with the red hair, who’s always wearing a smile while hurrying to class. He’s also typically got a pair of running shoes, as Greg runs year round with the cross country and track teams. Still, the best way to spot Greg is to look for one of the most modest people on campus.

Over the next few months, you may meet other athletes who will name drop, talk about their sports, or even pretend to be David LeNeveu. None of them will be Greg, and cross country coach Robert Johnson will be the first one to tell you that.

“He’s someone who quietly goes about his business and does what he needs to do without a lot of recognition or fanfare,” said Johnson.

I’m not saying he’s perfect, and neither is Greg. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s not the fastest on the team, and that he’s overstriding. He won’t however complain about things such as swollen ankles, shin splints, or being too cold.

All that said, you probably won’t find him on the track at the 2008 Olympic Games. But you also won’t find Greg at the bars, or out late on the weekends while he’s here at Cornell.

He’s an old fashioned athlete who believes in hard work, abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and at least eight hours of sleep before an important event. Greg may still have things to learn from Cornell’s other runners, such as Emory Mort or Aldo Gonzalez, but there are certainly a lot of athletes (and regular students) at Cornell who could learn a thing or two about discipline from Greg.

In a place such as an Ivy league university, there will be lots of people who do things because they look good on a resume or because their parents expect it of them. Those people have it wrong. Those people aren’t like Greg.

“Greg doesn’t do it for the fame and recognition, but because he loves to run,” said Johnson.

Or, simply put, he stays in beauty because he walks (and runs) in beauty.

This semester, I hope you’ll try and do the same.

Matthew Janiga is an assistant sports editor, and junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The No. 12 Bus will appear every other Wednesday this semester. Matthew can be contacted by e-mail at thesportsguy@cornell.edu

Archived article by Matt Janiga