A Journey by Bike – Coasting

Posted: July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

At age 11, after my Lego rack and pinion steering system, my mother exclaimed: “Joey, you should be an engineer when you grow up!” I probably didn’t even know what an engineer was back then, but my high school teachers echoed my mom’s advice years later.

At Servite High School in Anaheim, I excelled at math and science. Not to brag, but I did naturally well in these subjects without even trying very hard. That was to be my downfall later, but for now I was happily coasting through high school… sort of like I coasted down the 5 Freeway overpass before my big accident. I followed my teachers’ advice and applied to various engineering programs, before selecting UC Irvine. I would ride my trusty bike to a hospital in town, from which I could catch the UCI shuttle to campus. No safety helmet, just the wind in my hair and a dream of becoming an engineer. Little did I know I couldn’t coast through life forever.

My easy ride came to an abrupt end when I saw my grades at the end of first couple of quarters at UC Irvine. The easy A’s I received in high school had morphed into C’s and D’s in Physics and Calculus. I hadn’t applied myself, and was shocked at how much more difficult the college level courses were. I was at a crossroads in 1983…. Engineering no longer seemed a given, and I was also having doubts about that career. My fellow students seemed obsessed with making money, and there was so much of greater value, spiritual value that they were missing.  That was where I felt drawn to focus my efforts. To my and my parents’ surprise, I was feeling a call to the priesthood.

Halfway through sophomore year, I was living in the Irvine Meadows West student housing trailer park in a 25 foot camper trailer and riding my bike to and from school and the beach. My heart was not in my studies, and I already applied to seminary. I spent my free time at the university’s fencing club and working at KUCI 88.9 FM as a college DJ. It was the midnight to 3 a.m. shift, playing progressive rock, and later the quiet Sunday afternoon shift playing Celtic music. I was adrift, waiting for the next bend in the road.

Sometimes, you can’t see what lies ahead on your path… in biking or in life.

Fork in Road

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