I’ve been working with the Games for over 10 years now. Over the past decade or so I routinely encouraged my parents to “pick a sport” and be a part of the Games. The year before my mom retired from her job at my high school, she finally relented and decided to “do something.” She picked the 5K road race. My mom spent most of her adult life running her athlete-kids around, not running races. I can’t recall a competitive event that I ever competed in that she was not at, cheering me on. Her time was spent with family, a choice that she never regretted, but left little time for herself. This would be her very first athletic competition. My younger brother, as a surprise to her, gathered all my siblings together to watch her run that first race. She ran the race, but admitted that she didn't even try to pass anyone because she thought it would be "rude." I laughed and talked a little about the intent of competition. Regardless, it was awesome to have us all there to cheer her on for a change.
She missed the next year because of a schedule conflict, but the following year decided she was going to really go for it. She arose early in the morning and diligently ran 3 miles a day around and around our church gymnasium. The day of the race came and with a bang from the starting pistol, she was off. My dad, my wife and I anxiously waited at the finish line to watch her come in. After several runners from various age groups finished the race I looked up in time to see a woman, seriously struggling, come around the bend. Her legs were stiff, she bent at a 90 degree angle at the waist. She had obviously given her all. I felt bad and moved to offer her assistance. All of a sudden, I realized that women was my mom. I burst into a run to go to her aide. Except for the birth of my children, that moment might have been the most terrifying and proud moment of my life. She had truly given ALL she had. I took her by the arm and encouraged her to breathe as we walked down the path. As soon as she saw the finish line, she pushed me aside and staggered across by herself, a testament to her steel will. It took a few minutes for her to recover, but with time and some complementary fruit, she was fine. “I underestimated how uneven the course would be. It wasn’t perfectly flat like the church gym,” she laughed.
The next year, surprisingly, my mom returned, once again, to run the 5K road race. Leading up to the race this time, she trained outside, running with the contours of the Idaho farm land where I grew up. Race day arrived, as did the starting gun bang. My dad, wife and I watched anxiously for her to appear. Several runners from various age groups arrived and finished. Before too long, I caught sight of her, striving confidently around the bend. Catching sight of the finish line arch, she sprinted to the end of the race, waving to my wife as she passed her camera. Breathing hard, but happy, she hugged my dad. I grabbed her some fruit and then walked to the table where the results were posted in the form of a small 2” x 3” card. Scanning the names, I quickly found hers and immediately looked to see where she had placed. Covering the result with my thumb, I walked to where she was recovering, chatting with my dad. I winked at my wife as I passed her and motioned with my head for her to follow me.
“So how do you think you did,” I asked, with my best poker face on.
“I think I did good,” she answered.
“Is 30:33 a good time for you?”
“Yes. That’s a personal best.”
“What place to you think you got?”
“I don’t know.”
“How about third place,”
I couldn’t resist my huge grin. Once the words sunk in and my mom realized she had won a medal at the Huntsman World Senior Games, she literally jumped for joy. Right there in the parking lot of the Crosby Family Confluence Park, my mom jumped for joy.
That bronze medal was worth much, much more than its weight in gold. It was the first medal my mom had ever won.
This is what the Huntsman World Senior Games is all about. If you have been touched by this amazing event, please consider a gift. It’s a wonderful way to Pass on the Legacy.