Jake had his regional cross country meet today. It's a very important race as it determines who goes on to the state meet. Only the best get to run in the state meet. Only the top 5 finishing teams from each regional race go on to run in the state meet. Jake's team (boys) finished second today and the girls finished third, so they'll both be running in Colorado Springs next week.
There were the usual coaches and parents cheering the kids on. There were also two boys, who had previously ran for the school, who left their college classes for the day to cheer the teams on. When I asked Jake about it, he told me how much it meant to him and the team to have them there and to have them run with and cheer on the runners. He felt that these two boys inspired the runners to keep running strong and to do their very best. Jake went on to tell me that it meant so much because they didn't have to be there and they had first hand knowledge of what the runners were going through. It wasn't just a coach or parent yelling, "run faster" or "you can do it." These boys knew exactly what the runners were thinking and feeling.
This made me think of how this parallels real life. When we're in the midst of something hard, like the runners running their race, we want someone, or a group, standing on the sidelines cheering us on, supporting and encouraging us. And how much more does it mean to us, or help us, if those supporters know what we're going through, or enough to know how difficult the race is. Those cheerleaders may make the difference in how we run (figuratively) and how well we finish.
On Jake's school's JV team, there is an autistic boy named Jack. Jack loves to run and the school wanted to accommodate his passion for running. But the coaches realized early on that they couldn't treat him like the other runners and let him run on his own. He needed guidance and supervision. Amazingly, a JV coach from another sport volunteered to run with Jack. That meant not just the races, but all of the practices, too.
I so much admire this coach. Not only did he do a lot of running, but he was also in charge of Jack before and after races. What a commitment to and impact on he made to this young man. And he did it with a great attitude and a smile on his face. Again, this situation made me think of our own personal hardships. Isn't our burden lighter if we have someone running right along side of us - a running companion if you will. Someone who not only gives us their company, but knows what the course looks like at the same time the runner does. That companion can help the runner decide which way to go or when to kick it into high gear. (Here is a picture of Jack and his running companion.)
All of this made me reflect on my own friends and then the friendships I have or have seen in the blogging world. It's a beautiful thing to watch women genuinely care for someone who they most likely haven't even met in person. I'm even wondering if it's easier to care for someone here in blogland. Maybe there's just enough privacy that we don't have to get entangled in all the particulars of any one's personal hardships. Maybe it's because one can only do so much that it doesn't become a hardship for anyone.
What I really think is that most women are caregivers by nature; a gift from God. The blogging world puts us in contact with a lot of different people that, in some cases, become part of our daily, or routine, life. We get to know each other and, in turn, want to encourage each other.
Thinking back to the race analogy, isn't it great to have cheerleaders standing on the sidelines, encouraging and supporting us as we run our race - whether it's short and easy jaunt around the block, or a big important race.
link of the day: