Take September 16, 1891, for instance. Like any day, lawyers billed their clients, workers built cities of the future and inexperienced chess players reset their pieces after yet another series of disastrous matches.
It’s safe to say some people considered their time well spent, even though some of their legal work would never be compensated, some of their buildings would be destroyed by earthquakes and most of the chess games would never get any better.
One bit of good news that day was the news. The first issue of the Ephraim (Utah) Enterprise newspaper was published. And the births of a German and a Canadian were probably good news for their parents.
Karl Dönitz, a German naval officer who briefly succeeded Adolf Hitler as head of state at the very end of World War II, was born in Grünau in Berlin, Germany. And the world’s oldest woman from Dec 2006 to Jan 2007, Julie Winnefred Bertrand, was born in Coaticook, Quebec.
One hundred and twenty years ago, all three of these beginnings were simply part of the ever-present background noise in which potential resides.
But in 1891, in Peoria, Illinois, potential became quietly celebrated accomplishment. Here’s everything that Outing magazine—the ESPN of its day—reported about the event:
“At Peoria, on September 16 Bert Myers lowered the world’s 5-mile unicycle record from 19m. 53s. to 18m. 56s. Every mile from the 2 miles to the finish was below the world’s record.”
One record reduced by nearly one minute on one wheel. Attaboy, Bert. You did Peoria proud.