Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Finish Line

Running is an odd sport in many ways.  The best runners are not famous or rich like in other sports.  It's a sport of participation rather than spectating.  To me - the main thing that differentiates running from most other sports is the finish line.

This is especially true at a major marathon like Boston or New York.  The sense of elation and victory doesn't end when the winner crosses the finish line.  It continues for hours.  Remember the Christian Laettner shot from 20 years ago?  Now imagine that wasn't the end of the game.  Imagine that everybody got to come down from the stands and try their own shot - except that everybody kept making the shot - for hours on end.  That's the kind of energy that exists at a finish line of a major marathon or an Ironman.

I think that's why the bombing last year was such a punch in the gut for so many of us who have run a marathon.  A finish line is in many ways a sacred place.  It's like bombing a church or synagogue.  It's incomprehensible to most of us.  We all feel pain - but we have a choice of what we can do with that pain.  We can lash out at the world.  We can even try to destroy the world.  Or we can try to make something beautiful.  We can reach other to others.  We can show the world that pain can be overcome.  The beauty of humanity is when we are able to take pain and loss and turn it into victory. 

Here is the story of one such person - Jon Blais or Blazeman.  Watch the video below - it tells his story.  Of course we should remember the victims today - but we should also think about the beauty of the finish line - and that nobody can take away that beauty.

Here are the two poems he wrote that are in the video.

"It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.
I want to know if you can live with failure – yours and mine – and still shout at the edges of a lake, river, or mountain – “Yes! I am a warrior poet!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know whether you can get up after a night of grief and despair – weary and bruised to the bone – and do what needs to be done for someone you love.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments of your life.
And still remember me – Blazeman – ALS warrior poet"

"Live - more than your neighbors.
Unleash yourself upon the world and go places.
Go now - giggle - go - laugh - and bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.
Understand this is not a dress rehearsal.  This is it - your life.
Face your fears and live your dreams.
Take it all in - yes, every chance you get.
Come close - and by all means - whatever you do - get it on film."

Jon Blais (August 30, 1971 - May 27, 2007)

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