And In This Corner…Stands Another Race Trophy

OK, this one isn’t standing. Actually, it’s on a very nice pink-and-black ribbon, and it’s sitting on my desk, awaiting a frame.

I almost did not get this award. It’s for finishing third in my age category at the Mother’s Day five-mile road race I wrote about recently. Problem is, I left the event before the awards were presented. I thought I did so poorly there was no shot at a medal. Plus, I had other plans. Plus, it was hot.

Fortunately, a polite and apologetic email to the race organizers resulted in getting the medal sent to me, and they even refused my offer of postage. I did send a check for the race cause (pediatric cancer) and promised to run next year (all the while wondering when to start praying for better weather conditions for a year hence).

You’re probably wondering why a middle-aged woman would care about a bit of metal with a few words of commendation on it, suspended on a piece of fabric. It’s not that I missed athletic competition as a child. I played if I was picked for someone’s team. Mostly I sat on the stoop and watched. In school,  I played softball, volleyball and lacrosse, but I was purely third-string material.  Ribbons and medals didn’t figure into my life until I was close to fifty years of age, and then they were not awarded for team sports, but for endeavors I could pursue by pitting myself against a clock and other people (swimming and running).

I don’t resent the past. I would not care to go back and find those mean kids who would not play with me, poke them with a sharp stick and say, “See this trophy? I got it in spite of you!” But every ribbon and every top three finish means a lot to me. It puts those days sitting on the stoop farther in the past, and when I see a child in tears, sitting alone and watching the other kids play, I can relate. I can let them know it doesn’t have to be like this. They can find an endeavor they love, athletic or otherwise, and earn their own accolades and rewards. And those are important, whether they are the kind to be framed and admired, or simply remembered and enjoyed.

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Filed under Children, Exercise, Running, thought

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