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The Finish Line

The runners line up at the Start Line--
knees bent
toes tipped
shoulders hunched
eyes narrowed toward the future.

The gun pops
and OFF they run!

That was the scene Wedneday night
at the Air Academy High School track
where Joseph was participating in his
first-ever Cross Country Meet
with eight or more other middle schools.

From the stands,
we clapped and cheered--
not just for our own children,
but for all of them,

The course was a mile and a half
twice around
to make three miles.

The 7th and 8th graders ran together--
first the girls race
the boys race.

There is such an excitement when we're told
the first runner
is approaching the Finish Line!
We jump to our feet
and clap loud and strong--
whoopin' it up, hollerin'
The runner's face is lit up--
his arms flail behind him as he crosses
the yellow ribbon
and truly the crowd goes wild!
He's ahead of the pack
by a football field's length,
but again,
when the next cluster of boys come around the
stands into the field
the crowd cheers them in too!
This, this is good stuff and we're just thrilled
to be a part of it
to see it all in front of our eyes.

What we didn't see,
what is hidden from view
is the actions of one of those
first finish-line-crossers--

the hero.

Wave after wave of young men cross the yellow line,
until it's determined by the judges and the crowd
that everyone is accounted for--
all have arrived,
the clock
Then, the 6th grade boys and girls are beckoned
to line up for their race.
It takes minutes for them to get on the field
to get in position, 
but the race is delayed.
We're waiting in the stands, wondering
what's taking so long?
All of a sudden,
looking at the end of the field,
there are two runners
enter the stadium.

One is a heavier young man,
his pace is slow but steady,
his face is red and sweaty,
determination is all over that
hardworking body...
and running next to him,
obviously coaching him along
"You're almost there!"
"You can do this!"
was a young man who was
one of the first finishers.

Upon finishing his race,
he went back for the last runner.
A young man on his team.

Seeing this  act of brotherhood
brought us to our feet,
tears welled in our eyes
and we couldn't have been more proud.
The other teams gathered at the finish line,
cheering with their whole hearts
bringing both boys to the yellow line
and then, gathered around them
where hugs and high fives were all around.
That is beyond teamwork,
right there 
and those boys taught us all
a valuable lesson.
Will either boy ever forget the other?
Can you imagine if you were the parent of the last boy--
wondering if everyone had forgotten him
when you knew you hadn't seen him cross the finish line?
And can you imagine being the parent
of the young man who'd gone back 

to coach the last one?

Along your pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.” 
― Thomas S. Monson


Dawn is the mother to seven yahoos, Granma to 2, lover of pies and all things Colorado. A doula, home stager, contributor/editor to the MMB and blogs it all at Momza's House.

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