The play, not the state. And yes, I’ll tie it into running, in a minute.
Took N (middle child, only girl, 9, a real pip, a chip off the block of her Auntie Colby) to see our local high school production of Oklahoma! on Sunday afternoon. The production was great – our high school has a fantastic theater program – but what sticks with me is how motivating it is to see amateurs sing and dance their hearts out. Log zillions of rehearsal hours on top of their regular high school duties and dramas to put together a successful production, not for money, not for awards, but for the love of it. I get the same feeling when I watch high school sports games – sure, there might be a few kids in there who are playing for their future, but 99% of the kids are playing for the pure, unadulterated love of the sport. It is incredibly inspiring.
Which brings me back on topic for this blog (although, truth be told, doesn’t the “and anything else we find” give us a lot of leeway for areas of discussion??? I fully intend to bring the Real Housewives into a post one of these days.). Races. I love ‘em. I find them a huge source of inspiration. There are so many reasons to race – love of competition, motivation for training, supporting a cause, finishing the race with a great post-race event at a fab pub (yoo-hoo, Toad’s Place! Christopher Martins!), but for all but a very few, none of those motivators are lucrative in the usual sense. None are zero-sum in the way that many of our endeavors are. Doing well in a race probably isn’t going to further any of your life’s achievements except your own internal goals. And that is the point. Your own personal goals are, at the end of the day, the MOST important ones. Aren’t they? Shouldn’t they be? So, you might spend 40+ hours a week working toward goals set for you by someone else – boss, family, society, etc. But when it comes to racing, only YOU set the goals. Only YOU know when you have succeeded. And unlike many of our daily activities, success can come in so many ways. A personal best. Racing through a roadblock. Finishing a new distance. Finishing despite falling part.
When you race as an amateur, you are there simply because you want to be, and you train and perform to the best of your ability because it is important to YOU. It is pure inspiration to show up at a race and see thousands of people devoting their time to something that is not going to “win” them anything in the traditional sense. Just like the kids who sang and danced their hearts out on Sunday.