Sunday, August 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Last

On Friday we hosted the annual Primary Campus Sports Day.  As the race starter for the longer sprints and distance runs on the soccer oval, I was part of the team that coordinated the several heats for each age group and gender.  We would pull the fastest runners aside to run the ribbon race – the race that counted for all the beans - after all the heats were finished. 

I was impressed time and again.

We have a lot of fast children in our school - that is for sure.  I am convinced there is some sort of genetic relationship between melanin and swiftness of foot that transcends cultures and continents.  And as always it was fascinating to watch the children fly.

But it was the ones who soared who impressed me the most.

The ones who watched the backs of their friends getting smaller in the distance.  The ones who persevered despite the fact that short of a drastic injury 100 metres ahead of them, they would most certainly be crossing the finish line well after all the others. The ones who would never even get to participate in the ribbon races.

The ones in the place called “last.”

A couple weeks ago my son was dissing the “team” events, saying, “If you don’t win, you get a second place ribbon, but it’s not really second place.  It’s last.  Your team lost the event.”

We had a heart-to-heart about sportsmanship, participating for the fun of it, and for the love of competition, and phrases ending in “it’s how you play the game that counts.”

He got it.  In his age group of boys, the teams split the events evenly … two blue ribbons to the red team, two blue ribbons to the yellow team.  That meant two red ribbons to each team as well.  But, you know what?  I truly believe that my son was not irritated about the red ribbons.  He did not come in “last” in his mind.

He had fun.  He played hard, he played for the fun of it and for the love of competition.

He got it, and I was impressed and grateful.


And those kids who came across the finish line “last?”

It was obvious that they got it too.

They persevered.

They ran it out.

They ran it hard.

They ran the last 50, 80, 120 metres as the only participants still on the track, and yet they finished with smiles on their faces.

They got it.

And so should we.

Written in conjunction with Lisa Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday community.  Click the Five Minute Friday button for more information or to join the fun.
Five Minute Friday

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(Updated 13 April 2013)