Our school district sponsored a "fitness carnival." It was organized by the High School peer education group and open to anyone in a district elementary school. Races were held by gender and grade level.
As soon as he heard about it, Logan wanted in. Ever since he saw one of the high school's track teams running down the road for practice, he'd been determined to race. This morning he got his chance.
Going in Logan knew three things:
1. Students placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd got a medal.
2. Anyone else crossing the finish line got a ribbon.
3. He'd be running in the last race of the day (Kindergarten boys) and as a 5-year old with a summer birthday, some of the runners along side him could easily be a full-year or more older. And that means, they'd likely be bigger and faster.
He went into this race determined to at least run the entire 1/2 mile and get himself a ribbon. He'd happily take a medal, but as long as he crossed the finish line without walking or breaking, he'd have met his goal.
The whistle blew - he ran. Roughly a 1/4 mile in, Logan was nestled comfortably in the middle of the pack. He saw something that either no one else saw, or no one else cared to admit they saw. Another boy had fallen down and was having trouble getting up as the tangle of 5 and 6 year old legs ran around him.
Logan slowed his pace as he approached. He stopped. He stopped long enough to hold down his hand and help that boy up. With a quick pat on the kid's back, he confirmed the boy was ok. The boy took off running, calling a thank you over his shoulder as he went. Logan nodded and picked up speed. He had paused. He had stopped, but he didn't care.
The closer he got to the line, the faster he ran. In the end, he came in roughly 33rd in a field of over 50 boys - neither first nor last. Smack in the mid-section.
Yet, in the end, I think he was the one that really won. He met his goal. He ran the entire length except for that one short break when he reached down a hand to be the good sport.
On our way home I pointed out that he was the Lightening McQueen of the race - the one that voluntarily lost time off his own pace to make sure another contestant stayed in the game. Logan, the child that's been quite vocal about pursuing a particular vocation since he could talk, laughed and then said with utmost sincerity, "Mommy, that's just what doctor's do. I was running. I was racing myself and I was practicing being a doctor."
Is it any wonder why that kid is my hero?