Just try…

We went to a Cross Country meet Thursday. It was 88 degrees in the shade and there was only a slight breeze. Buses lined the street and there were cars as far as we could see. We had never been to Little Falls, Mn, but that’s where the meet was. JV boys, JV girls, Varsity Boys then Varsity girls ran a 5k on the golf course. We were most interested in the JV boys. I love watching running. While I have completed 4 half marathons, I don’t really love to run like my husband does. I’ve never driven by someone who was out for a run and wished I was them. But I love to watch it.  I love the crowd of kids and seeing them race. I love cheering for them – all of them. The fun went off and the crowd came racing towards us. I always try to pick out my runner, and in that first sea of kids, it’s sometimes difficult. As I scanned the crowd for Alexandria shirts, I cheered for the Cardinals and clapped for everyone else. Then a boy in a green jersey ran by with an adult. The adult had a strap around his wrist attached to the kid in the green jersey. He was leading him through the course because his sight is impaired. I instantly got a lump in my throat. Wow. We wove our way through the golf course, cheering at different intersections. There was one big hill on the course. After our Alexandria runners went by, I stayed to cheer on the rest of the kids. Myles asked me why we didn’t just leave. I said, “Because nobody is here. No one is cheering these boys on. We are staying until the last one runs by.” And we did. First, last or in between, they all tried.

As the sight impaired boy came closer to the finish, I heard his guide say, “26 is a PR (personal record), you’re almost there!” I cheered for him, never knowing his name or his story. I talked to my husband after the race and asked out loud, “Why does that make me so emotional to see a blind kid running?” Why? Because he tried. He didn’t give up. Last week we were at a race in Detroit Lakes. It was a hard course with lots of hills. As usual, Cameron went to the back of the course to cheer the kids on… the spots that nobody goes to, except maybe a coach or two. He saw a kid start to go up the hill, start walking and walk off the course. He didn’t finish. He wasn’t going to win, so he stopped. He didn’t appear injured… it was just hot and hard. 
To me, this is one of the big things that sports teaches us. Yes, I understand that many won’t go on to be big college runners or win the Boston marathon, but they learn to try. Hopefully they have a coach that puts more emphasis on doing your best than winning. If you learn to keep going in the face of adversity, maybe you will apply that to other areas of your life. If you do your best, that’s enough.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you keep going when you feel like walking off the course. Listen for the cheers, and just try.