The Brook Hill School

A weekly message from the Athletic Director

“ALL ORANGE…All The Time”


JAWS. The Return 

In the 1975 Peter Benchley Film JAWS, Roy Schneider who plays Chief Brodie, upon seeing the monster fish for the first time while “chumming” in the waters off the East Coast, walks into the ships cabin and informs Captain Quinn that “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”. 

Swimming on the beaches off Kittery, Maine in the 1960’s, having an encounter with a shark, or even knowing that Great White Sharks populated that area, was never a concern to me. 

After watching the movie JAWS, even swimming in lake water became a little suspect for me. 

Though somewhat unnerved by sharks, I have developed a keen interest in them, especially during Shark Week on The Discovery Channel which this year airs on Sunday June 26th. 

Two years ago I began to take up the hobby of paddle boarding, which basically meant I borrowed the board of a neighbor on the beach or rented one from a local paddle board shop. 

Last summer, I actually purchased my first board, which was an 11 foot long inflatable. 

By the end of the summer, I had actually become pretty good at the sport and when asked by curious swimmers if it was difficult to learn how to do, I would simply reply “no, you just have to fall off and get back on about 2,000 times”. 

This summer, I purchased a new board. I definitely upgraded as I selected an Isle Versa 10’5 hardboard that can also be used for surfing (I am not a surfer). 

My new board has proved incredible. It is faster, handles much better, and reacts quickly. When I get the chance to ride my new board. I do so with confidence. As I tell my wife in my best romanticist form “it makes me feel as if I am one with the sea” (yeah right!). 

When I had the chance to ride the board a couple of weeks ago, I had an amazing experience as I encountered my first “big shark”. Now I have seen several of the smaller variety. Two, three, and four feet sand sharks that looked more like the logo of a Bonefish Restaurant than a man eating machine. 

This shark however was different. It was decidedly larger. About 7 feet in length. Darker in color, with a wider head, and its body was thicker. This was no Sand Shark. I had seen this type of shark on Shark Week. This was a Bull Shark. 

I was paddling in about 12-15 feet of clear emerald water with a white sandy bottom, about 75 yards from shore, when I first noticed the large fish heading in my direction but about 10 yards to the left of me. The shark was bulky yet graceful as it ambled through the water. As I realized what it was as it moved even with me…I froze. Thankfully however, “Jaws” was not interested in me, and leisurely continued on its way. 

I then thought “how cool was that”? 

So… I stopped paddling and turned my board around to follow behind the large shark. The shark, after passing me, swam to the top of the water, dorsal fin protruding above the surface. It was way cool! 

But cool quickly turned to quiver as the charcoal finned beast slowly turned back towards me. I then realized, that I had probably just made the biggest mistakes of my paddle boarding life. 

Upon seeing me and now facing me, the Bull Shark must have decided that my board was bigger than he was, and ever so quietly headed south into deeper water, and out of my sight. I stood there on my board for what seemed like several minutes, just to be sure that “Sharknado” would not return. 

What does this have to do with athletics you ask? 

Basically…I took a chance. I risked getting out of my comfort zone to experience something that became meaningful. Coming face to face with a shark…and being able to tell about it. I am not a risk taker. I usually play percentages. Riding The Lost Mine Train at Six Flags is a challenge for me. But on this occasion, I decided to go for it. 

Now I am not for one minute advocating anyone seek out an experience with a shark. 

In fact kids, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! 

But…athletes sometime have to jump out there, get out of their comfort zone, and lay it all on the line. 

You can’t be afraid to fail or you will never know what it means to win. 

Sometimes athletes, male and female, are resistant to really letting go in their effort, or training, or wanting to give it all they have while competing because they do not want to come up short. 

The best athletes and the most successful athletes are those that commit to, and buy into whatever it is they are pursuing. 

At Brook Hill, our coaches are committed to affirming the gifts of our athletes while helping them to achieve their goals, successfully accepting the challenges of competing. In sport and in life. 

So go on! Go for it! NO FEAR! 

Get on the board, and follow that…well you get the picture! 

And that’s another reason to be “ALL ORANGE…All The Time”!

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The Brook Hill School | 1051 N. Houston St. | Bullard, TX 75757 | (903) 894-5000 | 800.657.3167
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