To the girl in pink who ran track for the New Egypt Middle School: You are freaking awesome! I just thought that the whole world should know this about you. You put on your running shoes, you warmed up, and hit the track. You kept a steady pace and finished each race that you competed in.

I was merely there to see my nephew’s last race for the track season for Fisher Middle School. I didn’t know that my heart was going to smile, and that my faith in this generation of our youth was going to be restored…just from attending a track meet.

When you first caught my eye, all I saw was pink. Which was easy to spot, as your team colors were blue. Then I noticed that it was a pink jacket over a blue uniform. My initial thought was, “Well, one does want a hint of color.” (Armand Goldman, The Birdcage) To be honest, I wouldn’t have immediately noticed you if it hadn’t been for your happy pink jacket. At least, not until you made your lap around by the bleachers where we were sitting on while cheering for the runners.

I saw you go the track with the other runners in your first event. I saw someone standing somewhat close by to you, but I just thought there wasn’t enough room for all runners to be at the starting line.

The sound of the gun clapped in the air, and you were off running. You were running at your own pace. You were running at a pace that a fellow team member was keeping in sync with you. In fact, your team mate made sure that they never went ahead of you. She was just there beside you enough to let you know that she was there. This was your race, not hers. You both understood this.

You never once paused.

You never once stopped.

You just. Kept. Running.

You kept your pace.

When you came around the bend to the home field, everyone in the stands clapped and squealed so loudly, and the members of the FMS track team cheered you on with, “You’ve got this! Keep going! Great job! You’re awesome!” I was the guy screaming, “Keep your pace and don’t stop! Kill it!”

By the way, I am one of “those” family members. The ones that don’t think they’re going to get excited for a sport, and then I find myself screaming motivation at everyone running by…like I as a professional coach all of a sudden.

I think that I might have seen a little bit of a smile on your face for a brief second, but you were so focused with looking at the track in front of you and below your feet. You never slowed down. You just kept going until you finished the race.

Forty minutes later, it was time for your last event to race against 4 other girls. Your running partner was right there with you, ready to go.

I listened to two girls behind me chatting about you. How fabulous that they thought you were, and both squealed with the idea of how awesome it would be if you ran the race and came in first place. They knew it wasn’t going to happen, but they just wanted that for you so badly. They don’t know you, but they want you to succeed. After the girls said their thoughts aloud, my brain agreed….that would be so bad ass if you had said, “By Y’all!” and left everyone in the dust. I was actually hoping for it to happen.

The crack of the gun happened, and you were off running again. Keeping your same amazing pace as your first race.

Do you actually KNOW how hard it is to keep a pace without worrying about anything else? Without worrying about burning up all of your energy at one time?  It’s tough.

You never stopped…you just kept your pace. Your pace that never slowed down at all. Not once. That’s such an amazing feat to be able to do.

You kept the pace and finished the race. You didn’t care that you came in last place. You just kept going until you crossed the line…at the same pace that you started the race.

I have to say that I was proud of everyone at the race. I was proud of everyone that you treated you as an equal on the track. No one gave you any slack. At all.

I think that you liked it that way.

I think that you liked that everyone treated you as an equal, instead of someone having some sort of special needs. Your special needs didn’t count on the track. It was just you. Running. Like everyone else.

I personally believe that you would’ve gotten a little pissed off if your team members or members on any opposing team treated you differently.

My faith in this world of our current youth is restored a little bit. Not just by you being so fabulous, but the support of everyone on the field and off the field…and the over heard conversations of girls your age talking highly about you.

You’re going to go far in this life.

Keep running.

Keep your pace.

Don’t let anyone stop you.

You are awesome.

To the girl that was running with you in both events, you are just fabulous.

You made the different events about her. You didn’t look at anyone else. You kept focused on her.

You showed so much patience, care, and comradery. It was truly amazing to see. So to you I say, “You’re awesome!” and I’m sending you virtual high fives.

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