The Race

MarathonPart 1:
“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!”
They shout out and plead.
“There’s just too much against you now,
This time you can’t succeed!”

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene;
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates by being.

Part 2:
A children’s race – young boys, young men
How I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear;
It wasn’t’ hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope;
Each thought to win the race,
Or tie for first, or if not that,
At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side,
Each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they went,
Young hearts and hopes afire!
To win, to be the hero there,
Was each young boy’s desire.

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought
“My dad will be so proud!”

But as he sped down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win,
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd,
He fell flat on is face.

But as he fell, his dad stoop up
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said,
“Get up and win the race!”

He quickly rose, no damage done,
Behind a bit, that’s all –
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than he legs;
He slipped and fell again!

He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn’t try to race.”

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father’s face,
That steady look which said again,
“Get up and win the race!”

So he jumped up to try again,
Ten yards behind the last –
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought,
“I’ve got to move real fast.”

Exerting everything he had
He gained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead,
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
“There’s no sense running anymore;
Three strikes, I’m out, why try?”

The will to try had disappeared
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error prone,
A loser all the way.

“I’ve lost; so what’s the use,” he thought.
“I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad
Whom soon he’d have to face.

“Get up!” an echo sounded low.
“Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here.
Get up and win the race!”

With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said,
“You haven’t lost at all.
For winning is not more than this –
To rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to win once more,
And with new commit,
He resolved that win or lose,
At least he wouldn’t quit.

So far behind the others now
The most he’d ever been
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.

Three times he’d fallen stumbling,
Three times he’d rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed first place,
Head high, proud and happy,
No falling, no disgrace.

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, un-proud,
You would have thought he won the race
Just listening to the crowd.

And to his dad he sadly said,
“I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said.
“You rose each time you fell!”

(Not sure who wrote this poem.  It has been attributed to different people.  For the sake of this post we’ll just say, “Author Uncertain.” – For our son Jordan, in his second year of Jr. High Cross-country!)

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