Thursday, October 18, 2007

cheering each other on

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:


Karen's Korner said...

How true what you say about others 'running beside us'. I have been going through a really difficult time for the last 18 months and I know that my 'support group' of close friends who phone and pray for me regularly has made all the difference.
I am quite new to blogging but I think you are right there too - I already feel that I am 'friends' with quite a few bloggers who I will probably never meet this side of heaven!

Heather said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing!

Tracy said...

This is a wonderful post and a great ananlogy. I was also thinking of how Jesus is there cheering us on, knowing what we are going through because he went through it all too!

diana said...

thank you tracy. you are absolutely right. i should have added that Jesus is always there for us. He's our constant and forever cheerleader. He is the original running companion.

jennifer said...

I am so humbled. This is a great post, and has me truly reflecting about the blogland thoughts. You may be right on a lot of avenues.

I am really touched about the other coach and I am again reminded how very incredible we humans can be, if we so choose.

Thanks again, I loved the photos from yesterday...reminded me of Utah.

Tracy said...

I used Picasa to make my picture collage. It's very easy.

Penless Thoughts said...

What encourages me the most is that we encourage each other as we "run the race that is set before us" by our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ!!!

Holly said...

What a wonderful thought-provoking post. You're so right. We all need cheerleaders and we all need to be that cheerleader for someone else.

Momma Roar said...

First, congrats to Jake and his team! I was in CS back in '94 for a "National Youth Conference" I think we stayed at Col State...I was hoping we get back to Col to ski this year, but we'll be heading north to VT...anyway

I so appreciate my blogging friends - I love staying connected through our blogs and emails. With my 3 little ones, I'm not getting out to mom's groups (I guess I could, I just choose not to) and my IRL friends are busy with their groups while their children are in school - so blogging/emailing is a way for me to connect with moms like me - and moms who have been down this road and can offer advice and encouragement.

Terrific thoughts here Diana!

Momma Roar said...

The link is fun! Quintin and I played around a bit and are planning to make one for a friend of his - who has a birthday this weekend too! His friend, John, was diagnosed in February with Leukemia (Quintin and I had made him a prayer comforter...don't know if you saw that post before)

Amber said...

That truly was a ray of sunshine. And hurray for that coach. We need to have more like him out there!

Lynne said...

Great post, Diana. I've only been blogging for about six months and I've been so inspired by the friends I have met in blogland.

A big cheer for Jake and his team!

Melissa said...

What a great analogy! It's so true that this life is so much easier when we have cheerleaders and so much more fun when we ARE cheerleaders!

Mary@notbefore7 said...


Great thoughts. I think walking along the path with others is a great way to encourage and be encourage. God called us to community - I have to admit that I was shocked to find such a great community via my blog!!!

Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

I will echo everyone else's thoughts and say what a great post. I love the comparisons you made. So accurate.

And man, what an awesome guy - that coach that chose to run and train with Jack. Wow, what a guy. Is he married? hee hee. THAT is the kind of character I want in my husband some day!!!

And I totally agree with finding comfort when you know somebody has been where you are.

And also, I feel the same way about my blogger friends. Many of these ladies I feel so close to and I've never even met them. And perhaps it is due to the distance...the somewhat anonymity of it? I don't know, but I do know that I love my blogging friends and I am so glad I have them in my life, including you! :) You are a ray of sunshine :)

Lori said...

Loved this post Diana.
I think that is great that coach took Jack under his wing and worked with him.
I have grown to love this blogging world.
There are so many great gals out there. I'm so glad to have made friends with so many of you.

Our Family of Five said...

wonderful post, very thought provoking! blessings to you!

childlife said...

Beautiful thoughts! We would have never made it without all of our 'cheerleaders!' : )

Thanks for your very kind comment over at my place - I'm loving your blog! (And your avitar is fabulous!)

melody is slurping life said...

Thank you for posting this. First, congratulations to your son.

Second, as a mom to sons on the autistic spectrum, this coach's dedication moved me. How I wish more people "got it".

Third, your life analogy is spot on.

Short Stop said...

What a great, great post Diana. Yes, it is amazing to see how God has used blogging to bring about so many friendships. I love sharing in it, and being able to cheer on my friends here.

Congrats to Jake and his team. You have one talented boy there! :)

jennifer said...

You know I commented already, but I must tell you Diana, that this is the reason I love coming to your blog. You have a way of sifting thru the day and writing a post that truly gets to the meat of it, and does it so gracefully and so tactfully.

Thank you for doing this meme, because I have had a great time re-reading your posts.

Penless Thoughts said...

I am so grateful for the encouragers God has given me, of which you are one, and I hope I am an encourager to you, Diana.