Saturday, March 20, 2010

Originally Published in "Around the Park" The newsletter of the Prospect Park Track Club


With about 24 hours notice, I was asked to “teach” an after school program at my kids’ school.  I put “teach” in quotes because the class was called Running and it was for first t graders.   I agreed, as long as my fourth grade twins could be considered my “teaching assistants.” (They think they are teaching the class.)  I did not get any help with curriculum but the after-school coordinator told me all the parents expect is that their children come home a little tired and hopefully uninjured.  OK.

On the first day of class, I brought my latest finishers medal from the NYC Marathon.  I thought it was give me some credentials.  It went beyond that.  They passed it around like it was an artifact from King Tut’s tomb.  They thought I won the race.  “No, no,” I explained, “you get this for finishing.  All you have to do is try your best and get to the finish line and you get a medal.”  I spontaneously added that everybody will get a medal when they do their best in this class. 

I decided to give out the medals before the last class because the kids had all just watched the Olympics.  They were so excited.  For the first time in eight weeks I was able to get them to stand still and be quiet.  I channeled Count Jacque Rogge and spoke about the honor of sport and the glory of competition.    They loved it.  They all felt the Olympic Sprit as I draped the medals over their necks. 

Then I shared one of my traditions.  I told them they had the RIGHT to wear the medal for the rest of the day and the next day if they wanted, because they had EARNED it.  The expression on their faces when they showed off their medals to their grown-ups was priceless.  

But, I have a confession, dear teammates.  I “borrowed” these medals from our inventory to be used at the Summer Speed Series.  Lock me up.


You do not have to be nice!


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