Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shamrock 5 Miler and Fun Run, Part 1

It was cold- colder than it should have been. It had, after all, snowed on the way to Zanes where I was meeting Margit so we could head together to the race.

This was going to be the big day.

This was going to be the day Ian ran his first race, front to back. He was excited about the fun run.

We gave him a choice of who he wanted to run with, and he chose me, and Mommy went out onto the course to wait. However, as the time to start lengthened and the wind picked up, he started to get cold and I could see that he was not-

Not what ? Not me ? Not well, not NOT four years old ? It's a magic place, the inside of the head of a four year old and all I remember about that age are sensory impressions, not emotions, not rational processes.

So I grabbed hold of my son's gloved hand and we started out. Sometimes, it can be difficult. I was a coach for a number of years and there's a part of me that has difficulty not issuing orders advice, like that it would be easier to run if we weren't holding hands. And I know he's so excited that he's running too hard, that the run will become a walk, the walk become a plea to be carried, perhaps accompanied by crying....

This won't meet my expectations, or rather, won't meet my hopes. But my son, he's four. My hopes and expectations are not really relevant. The real question ? Will he be happy when he's done ? Will it give us a family moment that we can remember ?

It does. He runs hard and fast, then slower, then finally walks. But he covers three-fourths of the course before the exhaustion only a four-year old can experience sets in. Finally, he gets carried a short way, but runs across the finish line.

Later that day, he spends half an hour in the driveway playing something that very loosely could be called soccer. His energy is back, he's happy and laughing, so I know it's not that he can't run that distance or that long. And so what ? If he's not ready now, well, he will be someday. And if he's not ready some day ? That's all right too.

Athletics is an all-volunteer endeavour. Anything else is a mistake.

He's a trooper after the race, and when they are handing out medals for all the participants in the fun run, I ask if he wants one and when he says yes, I get one hung around his next straight away, and it does make him happy. And proud.

He's four, and he had a good time, and the rest, well, there is no rest. There's just the smile on his face, and that's everything.

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