This I Believe

Elise - Chester, Virginia
Entered on November 11, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: courage

Courage is depicted in many forms. A soldier’s selfless sacrifice to save another, a youthful singer’s performance before a vast crowd, even a trusted pet’s dedication to rescue his owner. Recently, I have pondered on what it turly means to exemplify courage. Then, I saw it and it was more profound than I could have envisioned.

A bright young man of sixteen decided to join his school’s cross country team. Not remarkable in any aspect except this particular young man is not a runner. In fact he always struggled to run the mile his school requires for P.E. He also has feet so flat the bones on the middle of his feet touch the ground when he walks and he must wear inserts to correct his foot ailment.

So, join the team he did. The first week of practice was wrought with much pain and disappointment. Due to a previous commitment, he did not train the second week. Not surprisingly, his family wondered if he would return to the team. Return he did, day after day, week after week. Each day the young man was completed the course. Each day he returned to run again. Then came the cross country meets. Each time he raced and each time he came in….last. Never once was heard a word of anger, frustration or bitterness for his losses. His smile was contagious. His dedication boundless. His persistence inspiring.

At the end of the long season, there were no awards, ribbons, or trophies for this young man. What were, however, endless cheers, countless hugs and more acceptance than this young man ever dreamed.

What is courage? Epitomized in the efforts of one young man, it became a through reality not to be forgotten. In the face of daunting challenges, with the omnipresent fear of ridicule, and through weeks of pain, courage emerged from the forest of the cross country course in the visage of one young man who would, through it all, endure to the end.