The Great Race
From Music and the Spoken WordDelivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4336
No one who was there for field day at Worthington, Ohio’s, Colonial Hills Elementary School will ever forget the great race. It wasn’t about who placed first or second; it was about grit, determination, support, and sensitivity. Among the eager fifth- and sixth-graders who lined up for the 400-meter event was Matt, who suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, a debilitating condition that limits his mobility and physical exertion. But Matt had determined he would run that race.
By the time he was halfway around the course, his classmates were passing him on their second and final lap. His physical education teacher joined Matt on the field to encourage him as he struggled on. He had bursts of energy and moments of near collapse. But Matt kept going with the determination of a champion. His mother cried with joy at his courage and resolve as his classmates began to cheer, "Let’s go, Matt! Let’s go!”1
He did. And as he crossed the finish line, every hand flew to the air signaling victory. Matt’s finish would stand in memory as the greatest race that day.
We can learn a lot from Matt and those who gathered around him.
We can learn about facing our challenges and pushing on, living our dreams and having the courage to try and keep trying. We can learn about kindness and support from those who run with us, no matter the pace of life.
We are better people when we are there for others—lifting them, helping them, and sharing with them the sweetness of their dreams and their personal victories. And while it’s true that those for whom you cheer will be blessed by your support, it’s equally true that your caring relationship with them will be a blessing to you as well.
1 See Cameron Smith, "Inspiring Elementary Schooler with Cerebral Palsy Runs Amazing 400-Meter Race,” Prep Rally (blog), http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/inspiring-elementary-schooler-cerebral-palsy-runs-amazing-400-154523256.html.