Another year, another Field Day. So off I went to my children’s school. I watched my son for about an hour in the morning then went to a work meeting, returning in the afternoon to watch my daughter.
“I did it in 3:18 this year,” she said by way of greeting.
“That’s good,” I replied encouragement “I did it in 3:03 last year,” she noted as we walked, arms slung over each other.
“You did it. That’s what counts,” I said as she trotted off to another contest.
Shortly after this exchange, as I was chatting with fellow parents, delivering packages and messages that I’d brought to make the day a useful expenditure of my time a teary- eyed mom came up to me and told me what I’d missed:
“Your daughter convinced her whole team to run the 600-yard dash. Even though it wasn’t mandatory. It was amazing.”
My heart swelled. My daughter knows that she is not fast. I knew that she’d come in last – and was confident that she likely knew this too – just like last year. There are some Gazelle-like girls in her class – 3:03 is not a good time. The fact that she did it knowing this… well some pride spilled from my eyes.
“And then,” this mother continued “As she was running toward the finish line, two girls who had already completed the race went back and ran the second half of the track along side her, while the class cheered her home.”
3:18 may be the best number in the whole world.
I couldn’t be more proud. I’m teary-eyed as I write this. Sure, running quickly is great, but it doesn’t do a whole lot for your life unless you’re exceptionally speedy, in which case schools may throw scholarships at you and corporations endorsements deals. Running because you want your team to get extra points and finishing the race slowly but surely while in the company of your classmates – well that’s a great race.
Because it’s not whether you win or lose. It’s how you play the game. And this race was well run – by the entirety of my daughter’s class. I look forward Field Day next year. I’ll be there the whole day.