Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Question Answered

Marine Lance Corporal Kerr with his teammate, sharing authorized by Facebook, full cite below

Greetings All:

It's road race season.  OK, the purists out there will say, "Um, Jeno, we've been running ALL year.  Where have you been?"  To which I'll reply, "On the treadmill,...inside."  In any event, I believe you get my point-it's spring, so let's get out and run.

I dig local road races.  I participate in a few a year.  The photo above is of one of those countless local races occurring every weekend in communities across the nation.

Here's how Facebook reported this story (link below):

"Kerr finished dead last in his age group at a Michigan 5K, choosing to run alongside a 9-year-old boy who asked "Sir, will you please run with me?" after he'd been separated from the group he'd started the race with. Kerr came in 5 seconds after the young boy." 

I recalled the scene from a great movie, An Officer and a Gentlemen where Richard Gere's character, a hot-shot rebel named Zack Mayo (or "May-o-naze," as the Drill Instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Foley called him) is on the obstacle course.  He is on track to break the record.  This is a feat even the Drill Instructor will begrudging publicly acknowledge, albeit briefly, as worthy of praise.  However, Mayo does an amazing thing.  He ignores the record and instead goes back to his fellow candidate, a woman, who is in peril of not graduating due to her inability to climb the wall.  Mayo rejects personal fame and and coaches/motivates her to climb the wall.  She makes it.  The record remains. 

The above re-cap is leadership by Hollywood and I get that.  Still, there's a connection between Richard Gere's Mayo and Lance Corporal Kerr.  That connection is the age-old concept of leaving no one behind.  This is a most noble concept and as I type this, we are celebrating the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.  Our only POW is free and soon to be home.  Welcome home indeed SGT!

So back to the story and the photo, I want to conclude with a nod to the boy for having the courage to ask the Marine the question, "Sir, will you please run with me?"  Aside from the politeness shown (he is obviously being raised right) I so admire his courage.  He asks a stranger, military sure, but a stranger nonetheless, to run with him.  He risked rejection.  Yet he decided that it was worth the risk.  He was right.  

Sometimes, perhaps more often than we like, our questions are answered in the negative.  We don't get the prom date, or the starting position on the team, or into our "dream" college, or the internship, or the job, or the promotion, or win an election, or get a book published, or fill in the blank.  It takes courage to ask for what we want.  Disappointment is a fact of life.  The trick is to not be paralyzed by it.  It makes hearing "NO" easier.   

And it makes hearing "YES" all the sweeter.  Call me a sap, but I'm really glad this 9-year-old had his question answered yes.  On that road, on that day, a question asked became a question answered.  No man was left behind and there was nothing but winners at the finish line.

Be well my friends,


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