Last Sunday was my graduation ceremony. Despite my best efforts to sit next to my good friend Tommy T, fate was a fickle lady that morning. We ended up getting split up, he in the row in front of me, sitting on the exact opposite aisle. Such is life.

 Seefox and Tom

The following day we decided to finalize my graduation by completing another tradition, the throwing of the shoes. Monday morning, Scotty and I headed over to West Bank to hurl an old pair of my shoes into a tree. Not just any tree, but a very specific, very special, shoe tree.

Nobody really knows why the shoe tree got started, but I felt like graduation was cause enough for me to join in on the fun. Scott, with camera at the ready, snapped photos as I chucked my old Sketchers into the shoe tree.

Hurling my shoes, Ojibwe bird snare style

He was still snapping photos as my shoes bounced off of the limb I was aiming for and plummeted to the landscaped underpass below. I figured that I couldn’t give up that easily, so we went down beneath the bridge to collect the shoes and rethink our strategy. Note my terribly pouty expression. 

 oops, I missed!Scotty laughs as I fetch my shoes












Once we were back at bridge level, it hit me that I just had to throw smarter, not harder. On the second try, I lobbed my shoes up to the very tippy-top of the tree.

The second throw. More of a "lob" than a "throw"


The highest perch

They landed on the top-most branch, wrapping themselves securely around it.

I felt pretty good about that second toss. Even if I hadn’t caught them on that branch, there would have been every other branch below it for them to land upon.

I think the message of this story pretty much sums up what I’ve learned in my time at the U of M. 

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Rethink your strategy, and aim higher than you did the first time. As long as you have the heart to keep trying, you can’t lose.