Thursday, November 6, 2014

What do we cheer for?

On Sunday, my family ventured into the city to watch the New York City Marathon.  We were in Central Park a bit under 2 miles from the finish.  The path was lined with a variety of people cheering the runners on.  There were teams supporting their runner or their charities and little children high fiving every random runner.  But, what stood out to me the most was a young female 30 something cheering for each runner and ringing her cowbell as loud as she could.  Who was she?  Was she there with a team?  Maybe she was a runner?

As the afternoon passed into early evening, it became clear she was there on her own.  Now, out of superficiality some of you are picturing the sad lonely New York female.  You couldn't be more wrong.  She was a hair under six feet tall, athletically thin, shiny blonde hair, and a porcelain complexion.  After briefly speaking with her, I learned that she herself had been a marathoner and that her friends had finished hours ago.

Depspite her friends finishing, she was still there on the sidelines rooting for every pariticipant that came by.   If a runner had their name on their shirt she would scream their name.  If they were struggling she would holler loudly  "you're lookin' good" or "great job".  This woman was in the park when we got there and she was still there when we left.  Her enthusiasm never relented. And it really got me thinking what do we cheer for?  What gets our encouragement, our effort, our enthusiasm?

We all have a favorite sports team we support. But, sometimes the way people express that support is more antagonistic than supportive.  This past Wednesday, you were either happy or upset with how the political landscape changed.  As the news trickeled out, the responses were hostile.  It was either the sore winners (in your face) or the sore loosers (let's just throw you under the bus).  What do we cheer for?  

You see selfless cheering when a pitcher is one inning away from pitching a perfect game.  Or when an Olympic athlete has set a new world record.  Those are the best moments.  Everyone focussed, holding their breath, hoping, wishing, and praying. Then it happens and the universe screams in total joy.  Last Sunday, that is what I saw in that woman.  And now I wonder what the world would be like if we could all put a bit of ourselves aside to just simply cheer.  J.. R. R. Tolkien said, "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."  

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