First timer? In this once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States. I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the towns I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find out something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is, and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please check out “About Landing,” above.
Dan - For the second time in my last three landings, I’m hanging out in the US Southeast. Today’s state . . . GA; 26/32; 6/10; 17; 165.1.
For the fourth time, I landed in the Oconee River watershed, on to the Altamaha (5th hit, making the Altamaha the 126th river on my list of rivers with five or more hits); on to the AO.
As seems to be typical when I landed in Georgia, I landed near one of those round towns, in this case Wrightsville. Here’s my landing map (notice the more-or-less round town limits):
Here’s a broader view:
It seems as though Wrightsville’s claim to fame mostly revolves a famous native son, Hershel Walker. I’ll get back to Hershel a little later, but first a little of this and that. Here’s a painting made by fifth-grader Sean Ryan of Wrightsville.
Sean was one of 44 finalists in the 2007 National Arbor Day Poster Contest. This kid has talent. I never went beyond stick figures for people (and trees) . . .
Here’s a picture of the Wrightsville Train Depot, with the caption below:
Built in 1878, this depot served the Wrightsville & Tennille Railroad. It was given to the community in 1990 by W&T successors Central of Georgia and Norfolk Southern and rehabilitated in the mid-90s.
Here’s a picture of then-President Jimmy Carter holding a crying baby (four month old Joseph Sumner of Wrightsville). The picture was taken in Plains, which is over one hundred miles from Wrightsville (maybe Joseph was grumpy from the long ride):
Let me see, the above picture was taken in the late ’70s, so Joe’s probably about thirty now.
Here’s a picture of the historic Johnson County Courthouse in Wrightsville:
Deep in the heart of Coca Cola country, here’s an old Coke ad on a building in Wrightsville. Maybe this used to be a bottling facility. Otherwise, why be so specific about drinking from bottles?
Here’s a cool photo of three anonymous Wrightsville kids, taken by Leon Sun. To see the whole photo piece, click here:
Here’s a picture of an abandoned store in Wrightsville – somebody’s pride and joy that was probably thriving at one point . . .
Getting back to Hershel Walker. Since I landed near his home town (where he went to high school), let me start with the fact that in 2003, Hershel was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. Here’s a write-up:
Herschel Walker, one of the greatest running backs in football history, finished his high school football career with 6,137 yards and 86 touchdowns at Johnson County High School in Wrightsville, Georgia.
In track and field, he was state champion in the 100, 200 and shot put in both his junior and senior seasons. Walker took his talents to the University of Georgia and led the Bulldogs to a 33-3-1 record and a national championship in 1980. He won the 1982 Heisman Trophy as a junior. Walker played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
Here’s a Sports Illustrated cover picture of Hershel at the height of his glory days at the University of Georgia:
Beside all of his obvious athletic accomplishments, two things are of particular interest about Hershel (for me, anyway): his push-up regimen, and his mental health struggles, which is where I’ll start:
Sadly, Hershel has long been suffering from a multiple personality disorder (now called dissociative identity disorder, or DID). Evidently, he kept his condition more-or-less under control when he was focused on football; but after retirement, it really caused him severe problems. He has a website, HershelWalker.com, where he tells his story and offers assistance to anyone suffering from mental illness.
Here’s a picture of Hershel from an April 2008 CNN.com story about his disorder:
Now, on a lighter note, on to push-ups.
Hershel is renown for the fact that since high school, he did push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups as his exercises of choice for getting in shape. Neither his family nor his high school could afford sophisticated weight-training equipment, so Hershel made do with good old-fashioned exercises. Then, at the University of Georgia and later as a pro, he kept on with his low-tech regimen.
Walker stated in a phone interview on The Jim Rome Show on November 20, 2006 that he still performs 2,500 sit-ups and 1,500 push ups every morning. He has been going through this same routine every morning since high school.
Hmmm. 1,500 push-ups every morning, eh? Sounds pretty impressive! Well, this gives me the opportunity to tell a little personal story: For about 11 years (from 1994 to 2005), my exercise program involved only push-ups. The program was simple in concept: I did as many push-ups as I could in one-half hour. That’s it.
Dan, you know all about this, so I beg your indulgence . . .
On October 31st, 1994, I did 348 push-ups in 30 minutes. I forget the details; I probably did 25, then rested for a while, did as many as I could, rested for a while, etc.
After a while, I started getting more regular about my push-ups, for example, doing only sets of 10. I would do 10 push-ups, then stand up and put a mark on a paper, get back down, take a deep breath, and do 10 more. I would keep this up for the full thirty minutes. Anyway, after years of doing this (typically 2 or 3 times a week), I managed to do over 1000 push-ups in 30 minutes. For example, I might do 85 sets of 12 push-ups (1020), which comes out to an average of 21 seconds for each set. These were honest, military push-ups: arms at shoulder width; chest touching only, and arms fully extended at the top.
Not suprisingly, I kept a detailed spreadsheet that kept track of (and graphed) everything you could imagine. Over the ten-year period, I did 736,018 push-ups, which only averages out to about 1,300 push-ups per week (absolutely child’s play compared to Hershel’s 1500/day!). FYI, when I was in the swing of doing 950+ per 30 minutes (over the last 30 weeks of doing push-ups) I averaged about 2,600 per week.
I have no idea how Hershel broke up his 1500 push-ups (he almost certainly couldn’t do 1500 in a row). Somehow I imagine that he did larger sets of push-ups interspersed with other exercises.
Anyway, in November 2005, my left shoulder started to hurt. Not when I was doing push-ups, but when I was in the shower washing my hair, or putting a tee shirt on. The pain began to get more intense, and suddenly it hit me – it was my push-ups. I stopped the push-ups cold turkey, and almost immediately, my shoulder stopped hurting.
My wife Jody told me to go to the doctor, but I refused. I knew that when I told him how many push-ups I was doing, he’d simply tell me to stop (and I’d be out the $20 co-pay). Anyway, my shoulder has been fine . . .but I’m not in near as good shape as I used to be!