Recently I was at my kid’s track meet.
This may come as a shock to those of you who know me, but I’m not exactly a staple in the athletic world. I’ll never be the amped-up mom at a baseball game screaming at the kids (whatever terms I’m supposed to be screaming out), or losing it because my kid missed the ball. I’m more, the mom drinking Starbucks on a cushion asking the parent next to me questions like, “Excuse me, what is that?” “Angela, that is a bat.” “Huh.”
I grew up with two sisters and I don’t remember going to ANY sporting events in my entire childhood, besides my sister’s diving competition. Bottom line. I’ve never really gotten super excited about sports.
What is it about this sport that moves me to my core and makes me instantly tear up under my sunglasses? It’s like I’ve just come out of the movie The Color Purple or something. (My film crying record.)
Here’s what it is.
It’s witnessing somebody TRYING.
It’s watching a person who may typically put in less than 100% effort, put in 150%.
The reaction is absolutely contagious and completely electrifying.
Then there’s their support team. I’m not sure what moves me more. The face of the child drenched with determination, fighting to move their body to the finish line, or their enthusiastic team mates sprinting up and down the field screaming their name, and shouting, “Go! Go! Go!!!! You’ve got this! You can do it! Don’t stop! Go! Go! Goooooo!!!!!!!!”
I get that a lot of sports have the components of focus, drive and teamwork, but I have never seen them in such a concentrated way in so many individuals at one time. At least at this age. (9-11.)
There was a kid who came in dead last on one of the races. He was fighting to get one foot in front of the other, wincing and breathing really shallow. As soon as his feet crossed the finish line though, he threw his hands up in the air and all of us got up off our butts and cheered for him ferociously.
To be clear, I am not a “everybody deserves a trophy” mom and this kid wasn’t getting a ribbon. But he gave all of us, seated, hot-dog-eating adults a reminder of what it takes to get to where you want to be.
EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.
It reminded me how beautiful and exhilarating a feeling it is to watch someone really TRY, and then meet their goal, and how wonderful it feels when I do the same.
A lot of times I don’t feel like crossing the finish line, or even trying for that matter. My doubts are always there. There’s always 4 loads of laundry to do, kid’s projects and events to go to, and bills that don’t stop or change when my circumstances do.
But if I don’t try, I’m robbing myself of having some of my favorite feelings: feeling proud of myself, feeling elated, feeling excited, feeling alive, feeling hope and belief that my dreams are possible, hoping that by my actions maybe someone else will be reminded to go after something that they want or love.
Tomorrow night June 15th 2015, there is an impression contest with Dana Carvey. They have guaranteed the first 40 people an audition. I am number 51 on the line up.
So for the occasion, I have come up with some A-1 solid excuses for not going.
I may not get in. There’s a good chance I won’t get in. Burbank is too far. It’s a school night. I have to get a baby-sitter. And last but not least, I probably won’t get in.
These are all valid. And, I am going to put them all down, (dangit!) in the name of trying.
I have to. I may not get a ribbon or even get on stage, but I will get the satisfaction of experiencing the beauty of trying.
If there’s something you want to do, just try. Try, despite not being ready, or having the best resources or the perfect circumstances.
If you do, I promise the angels of the universe will be running to opposite ends of the field for you, jumping up and down, cheering your name, and yelling, “We’re routing for you! You got this! You can do this! Don’t stop! Go! Go! Goooooooo!!!!”
My 10-year-old son with all of his coaches cheering him on to the finish.
Me with comedy idol (SNL) Dana Carvey. (And I did make it to the stage!)