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Written by Ben Jorgensen, The Clearwater Progress   

Finish your race

     The fastest runner doesn’t always win his race so don’t ever give up on trying to win despite trailing.

     This notion was reinforced during the Idaho State Track meet at Middleton last weekend where hundreds of boys and girls from all over the state competed.

     And some fell. Hard.

     One particular 300 meter hurdle boys race resulted in a difficult ending for one young man. He had sped beyond all competitors to give himself a very comfortable lead when the unthinkable occurred at the last hurdle. His foot caught the top of the obstacle starting a chain reaction leading to him thudding face first into the track.

     It seemed if he could have bounded right back up he would have still had a chance to fight for a qualifying position for the next day’s medal winning race. He willed himself to his feet, took a step and then fell again. Seven racers whooshed past ending any dream he had of medaling in the event. To his great credit he rose again and hobbled across the finish line. Expectations can quickly change from feeling the hope of victory to hoping you can just plain finish what you started.

     Life and track are much alike. Sacrifice, commitment and much effort must be given in the pursuit of performing well, no matter whether it’s the triple jump or parenting. Success comes at a cost of lots and lots of time practicing the same action again and again until it becomes muscle memory.

     You don’t get to State simply by wanting to just as you don’t end up with well-behaved kids simply by wanting them to be good. You have to do very well at districts in order to qualify. In order to do well at districts you have to do a mountain of training.

     So it is with the day to day living. We train our habits, both good and bad. Sometimes we need some coaching to run straighter or try a different approach.

     But despite all the training, surprises still happen beyond one’s control. This year, the sky spat and cried all over the track for much of the day. Athletes carried on. There were some slips and dropped batons, abrasions, bruises and tears, both physical and emotional.

     There are moments when we feel like life is going along nicely and the future looks ever so promising. Then discombobulation arrives; A deer runs into our lane, a mill closes, a relationship unexpectedly hits the dirt.

     Expectations slip away shockingly fast as questions abound: what happened, what went wrong? Now what?

     Kamiah has certainly hit some hurdles over the past year. The destructive wildfires of 2015 and the recent closure of one of the community’s largest employers, Blue North mill, have knocked the sail from the mast.

     Like the kid who had victory in his grasp one moment only to hurt badly while limping onward the next, so too has our expectations been given a reality check. We find out what we are made of through loss and disappointment that cannot be discovered by winning every race.

     We will not win every race, but we should prepare, and practice, and run as if we can. For the young man who rose from a tangled heap at Middleton’s track, he demonstrated greatness of courage and strength in rising up and finishing his race. He won much more than the value of a medal that day and so can we by following such an example.


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