A friend was telling me the other day about her son running the track-and-field heats in his school. It reminded me of the many runs I had to participate in when I was a young student.
There were those runs for Sports Day, of varying distances, where we compete to win trophies. I never won anything, not even a medal or a decorative ribbon. There were runs we had to do as part of our physical fitness test. I hated those, and barely made the passing grade each time. And there were the “X-country” runs, of ridiculous distances, that went on forever. I normally try to fall sick during those, or let myself be distracted by the scenery around me and veer off-course.
Not once have I come in first, or second, or third, at any running event. I guess I’m the proverbial kid who always gets picked last to make up the numbers, rather than for any sporting talent. Which was fine by me. I once even pretended I was allergic to rain to escape from a game of Captain’s Ball that my friends insisted on playing even though it was drizzling.
I think in life we encounter lots of different circumstances that mirror those runs. Is it a Sports Day kind of situation, where defeating everyone else is the ultimate aim? Or a physical fitness test sort of scenario, where you need to get a Pass in order to move on? Or a “X-country” long term thing, where you need to invest lots of time and effort and focus?
For me, being able to complete the run is an achievement in itself. So even though my friend’s son came in last, he still won.
Because maybe, all we need is to be slow and steady.