I am fortunate to have some friends who are exceptional athletes. They work hard, focus, eat right and have natural talent. Did you notice I said friends? Yes, they are my friends and never look down on me because I am not as fast or I have millions of interests distracting me. In fact, they encourage me and realize that I am trying hard, that I am doing my best within my current situation. For example my friend Carol who is fast, really FAST, will occasionally see me doing intervals on the treadmill at the YMCA. Ok, picture this, Iím huffing and puffing, there is no oxygen for me to carry on a conversation, and if she were to glance at my pace it is where she runs comfortably. This is her conversational easy pace. What does she do? She says hi, speaks for a couple minutes and then says I can see your working hard Iíll talk to you later. I never feel like a peon because I am way slower than her. What can I say, she is a class act, and not just with me, everyone knows Carol and it would be interesting to find out how many people she has motivated to strive for more in their fitness quest.
Carol is just one, I am blessed to know many more people who are talented, who work hard and make a positive difference. So I was really disappointed when a friend emailed and shared with me her experience on a recent group ride:
ďThe ride today was good until we got back and someone said something very hurtful. I was the one riding in the back and trying 2 keep up.. I felt like I was doing pretty good.. but Susie Q (not her name) said to my face in front of others that it was a beautiful day and a nice ride except that we were going slow and that they had to keep stoping and riding circles...( waitin 4 me) I cry 2 easy but it was just mean. I had felt good about my ride and was totaly deflated... really bumd me out. If i ever start thinking so much of myself that I ever say something like that will u PLEASE slap me back 2 reality.. ď
Wow, I donít know Susie Q and I really donít want to ride with her, although it might be quite humorous to go on a group ride with her and stop every so often to take a photoÖhe, he. Anyhow when I received this I was disappointed. How could Susie Q be so insensitive, so rude? I would never do this. Or would I? I hate to admit this but sometimes I am unsympathetic. Ok, I have to confess, 7 hour marathoners, umm, yeah, I get kind of smug and think I am way better than that. ButóBUT am I? Really, what if someone spent 7 hours struggling at the same effort I was finishing my 4 hour marathon? Think about it, if they spent three more hours working just as hard as I did, who is tougher? And what if this person had to haul 10, 20 or 30 extra pounds? Whoís tougher? And we havenít even talked about genetics, oh and hereís the real factor, time. Yes, time, do they work full time, is full time 40, or 50 or 60 hours? What about parenting are they a working Mom? Yeah, letís just work and then work at home. Whatís my point? We all work hard. We all could use some encouragement. Wherever you are athletically, there is always someone faster and someone slower than you. We all have the opportunity to encourage others or to step on them and hurt their feelings. Life is hard enough; letís make a conscious effort to help someone. Words are powerful.
"The higher up you go, the more gentle you have to reach down to help other people succeed." - Rick Castro