It seems fitting that my earliest childhood memory entails strife, conflict, and intense emotion. It also seems appropriate that the Roman Catholic Church was involved. I was 5 or 6 years old. My family was out in Michigan visiting during a summer vacation. I attended a day camp run by a Catholic order, a sort of Bible day camp. I recall the presence of nuns. Another little boy started teasing me. He hit me with a vine, using it in the manner of a whip. This infuriated me. I fought back with a ferocity far beyond the pain I'd absorbed and beyond the bounds of a little boy trying to defend himself.
I jumped on the kid and started pounding him with my fists. When he escaped my grasp, I chased the terrified boy around some picnic tables. The nuns stopped me, but they couldn't staunch my rage, which kept flooding out of me, a deep volcanic upswelling at the injustice of the boy's attack. I wept and thrashed and couldn't be consoled. Eventually the nuns, who despite their experience had never encountered this sort of emotional intensity from a child, had to call my mother to come get me.
I remember that day: the stinging thrash of the vine; the deep green of the grass and trees; the startled white faces of the sisters under their habits; and my outpouring of rage that, even at that young age, I felt coming through me rather than from me. I sensed that I was a conduit of forces beyond my understanding and perhaps beyond my control.
-Alberto Salazar and John Brant, 14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life