I am not an athlete, never have been, never will be. I can play a mean game of table tennis and badminton. Hey, they count!
When I was in school, I did not like phy ed class – at all! Often the phy ed teacher allowed captains to pick their teams. Luckily, I had good friends who chose me despite my inability to spike a volley ball, hit a home run, (OK hit the ball at all) score a goal, jump a hurdle… you get the picture. I observed the few others, who like me, lacked ability, but also lacked friends.
That’s why when I was teaching, I rarely allowed kids to choose teams for anything. I remembered what it was like to lack skills the team needed. I remembered what it felt like to be chosen only because your friends liked you.
On Saturday when I completed my 10K, crossed the finish line and was handed my medal, I sort of felt like an athlete, or at least what I always imagined it might feel like to be one.
The morning started out with less than a perfect weather forecast, just like last year. There was an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms. The air was heavy with humidity and unsettled looking clouds continued to make their presence and unpredictability known.
While we were walking, I kept thinking back to last year. My husband keeps telling me to not look back, but I do. I can’t help myself.
During the walk I couldn’t stop thinking about last year at this time and where I was at in this cancer gig, which was facing my bilateral and a whole lot more. With the anniversary of that day approaching, I was reminded of how far I have come.
I know there is still a future filled with uncertainty for me. Although uncertainty is always lurking in the background, I am trying to regain my footing. I am trying to regain control in my life.
Participating in this event was part of regaining some of that control. There were 20,000 people participating; some in the 5K, some in the half-marathon, most in the 10K and, not surprisingly, the fewest in the actual marathon itself. Watching all the other participants, I couldn’t help but wonder what motivated them. I couldn’t help but wonder what their untold stories were.
Once again, it felt good to be part of a large crowd. It felt good to blend in. It felt good to be unknown. It felt good to be part of something where no one looked at me and thought of cancer.
The event was quite festive. Many residents came out of their houses on this Saturday morning to watch and cheer on walkers and runners. There were bands playing. There were cheerleaders jumping and shouting. There was a dome filled with spectators and announcers at the finish line. Granted, most of this fanfare was intended for the marathon runners, but they enthusiastically cheered on the more lowly participants as well.
Fortunately, the rain and thunderstorms did not materialize. My husband and I walked the entire 6.2 miles and crossed the finish line. We set no records. Actually, our time was slower than last year. We didn’t care. We only cared about being there. We only cared about finishing.
Life is full of many different kinds of “finish lines.” I intend to cross many more of them.
Note: Amazing daughter crossed a finish line of her own, completing the full marathon in less than five hours!
What is one finish line you successfully crossed?
What kind of “athlete” are/were you?