“Who knows? You may be surprised at what you can achieve with sincere effort. So get up, pick the cinders out of your wounds and take one more step. I dare you.”
1960 CHS Graduate
Cliff Cushman wrote those words to the young people of Grand Forks after falling during the 1964 Olympic Trials, his complete letter is attached below. I have read his letter a hundred times, and have always used his letter to push me to be a better father, husband, coach, and person.
At the end of each Track & Field season we give out the "Cliff Cushman Award", to a senior that upholds and resembles the words that Cliff Cushman wrote in his letter. The award doesn't necessarily go to the best athlete but someone that works hard with the talents they have, represent the team in a positive way, and is a good student. Our coaching staff spends a lot of time considering who desires this award, one that I feel is one of the most prestigious at Central High School. Over the years we have been fortunate enough to have some amazing young men to give this award to. After high school these young men have continued to have much success, for example some have become doctors, teachers, and most importantly wonderful family men.
This years award went to someone that not only has natural ability, but included a great work ethic to become one of the top distance runners in North Dakota this year. Camron Roehl has the second fastest times in Central HS history in both the 3200m (9:22.92) and 1600m (4:19.92). Camron also excels in the class room and has won several awards for his musical abilities.
But the biggest reason he received this award was his leadership. He is not the loud, tell you how to do things kind of leader. Camron has shown his teammates that through hard work, sacrifice, and steady improvement you can become something extraordinary. It is uncommon for high school students to not be video gamers, to not swear, to tell their parents they love them, to not be obsessed with their phones, or other electronic devices. It is unsual for a teenager to attend his younger sibling's music concerts, church and sporting events. It is uncommon for someone to be willing to give up hanging out with his friends because they know they need to get their run in, even if it is only 10 degrees outside. Camron is one of the last to leave practice because he is doing extra push up/sit ups and stretching. He has stayed after a meet, to run an extra set of 200m sprints because he felt he needed more work. It is unusal for a senior to ask freshman how far did they run today, or how their race went.
It is also unsual for a young man to have PR's of 1:57.23 (800m), 4:19.92 (1600m), and 9:22.92 (3200m), academic scholarships to college, and the respect of his teammates and coaches.