On what Robin Garrett called a “surreal” Memorial Day, her son, Zach, became an Olympian in archery and she suddenly was sharing the news and thanking people and hearing congratulations by the hundreds over social media.
“I didn’t know I knew this many people,” she said Monday night from Florida, where Zach, 21, cemented a berth in the upcoming Rio Olympics in the final phase of trials after months of qualifying competitions.
Most likely, she was in touch with more people than there are in all of Wellington, Mo., population 812 … or population “not very many,” as she playfully put it.
After his place was clinched, her first call was to Pennsylvania and her father Vic Mutz, who had inspired Zach to take up the sport when he gave the then 4-year-old a stick bow he carved for him.
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Though the grandfather is “a man of few words” like the grandson, Robin Garrett said, she knew he was thrilled for him.
No word on any forthcoming proclamations or impending changes in signage around or entering Wellington in honor of Garrett, but you might figure a few gestures along those lines are certainties.
And you can pretty well know he’ll be celebrated at Wellington-Napoleon High, where the achievement already was being appreciated Tuesday morning.
“It’s unthinkable almost, really,” said Quenton Bainbridge, the football and track coach and math teacher who taught Garrett and coached him in Missouri’s state “Scholar Bowl.”
He also coached Garrett in a brief but fascinating track stint after convincing him to come out his senior year: Garrett set a school record in the javelin (largely by learning technique from YouTube video) and came within one place of going to state in the 300-meter hurdles.
“And he probably only did it three times,” said Bainbridge, who also noted Garrett had been a good baseball pitcher, too.
Quick study that Garrett showed himself to be, though, he’s now renowned for the sport he’s done over the long haul.
“I can promise you when it gets closer there’s going to be a lot of hubbub around him and his family and everybody,” Bainbridge said. “We’re definitely going to recognize him somehow. It’s more than a big deal.”
Big a deal as it was, Robin Garrett and daughter Audrey made it a point to largely stay away from the venue so as not to be a distraction to him before he was essentially assured of making the three-man team.
Unable to maintain a reliable Internet connection at Keaton Beach, Fla., where she said there were more hermit crabs than people, she periodically went to a nearby gas station for Wi-Fi to stay up to date.
“You do what you’ve got to do,” she said, laughing.
That included buying airplane tickets for Rio months ago, as it turns out, something she had let Zach know but reassured him they had travel insurance for “so it wouldn’t add any stress.”
▪ Bainbridge, the football and track coach and math teacher in Wellington, noted that another Wellington-Napoleon grad, Blake Seitz of Central Missouri, just finished fourth in the decathlon at the Division II national championships.
▪ As already confessed and documented, after finishing a Sunday story that had been planned for weeks on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium, seemed like no reason to stick around after the Royals fell behind 7-1. *Only bring it up again now because it reminds me of a riff a friend liked to use at the Olympics upon making the inevitable wrong choices of which venue to go to when: Imagined reporters in Dealey Plaza, about five minutes before President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963: “Not much happening here. Let’s knock off for lunch.”
▪ Heard some people last week praising Baylor board of trustees for finally taking action over its out-of-control football program. OK, but that thinking harkens to what fabled golfer Bobby Jones said after assessing himself a 1-stroke penalty at the 1925 U.S. Open and then hearing praise for it: “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks,” he said.
▪ Barely made it to finish line early this morning with second season of Daredevil. Essentially like the show and love the questions it provokes about the good and bad in everyone. I also appreciate that like the first two Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire, it’s basically true to the comic book but accessible to those who don’t know it. But enough already of the shadowy ninja fights and Karen Page crying, and Matt Murdock’s martyr complex has gotten overwrought.
▪ If you enjoyed the recent video by Dave Eulitt, narration by Terez Paylor and story on the revival of electric football, you can now check out the Kansas City Electric Football league’s 2016 championship game. *Took me a minute to figure out this Abbott and Costello reference that doesn’t quite work but still found it an amusing play on the original once I did. Per a reader: “Hoz on first, Whit’s on second … Should we nickname Cuthbert ‘no sabe’ (Spanish for ‘I don’t know’)?”