And the medal goes to…
I have no medals or trophies to display from my childhood years, but my children have hardware from every team and every meet they participated in as kids – for accomplishments great and small, and often just for showing up. When the first medal was presented, I cheered. But as their collections grew, I couldn’t help but ask, isn’t participating reward enough?
While my children have outgrown that stage, I found myself in that exact same situation just this past week after my own race. Let’s face it, the best part of running a road race is crossing the finish line. Even though thoughts of walking tortured me for miles, and I gratefully stopped running to hug my husband halfway through, somehow when I crossed that finish line, the roar of the crowd magically transformed all self-doubt into pride. Nothing else mattered…I finished.
Then, as if I had won the entire event, a medal was draped around my neck. I stood tall and proud in the sea of runners, feeling on top of the world. But when I looked down to examine the colorful, large medal hanging around my neck, I wondered what on earth was I going to do with yet another medal?!
Hours later, I filed away my race bib and draped my medal on the shelf in my office along with all of the others.
This is my medal burial ground, wedged in the corner where nobody can see it, except me. There they hang, collecting dust like the trophies in my children’s rooms. There are a few in the collection that I truly cherish, but plenty I could do without.
I would have never suggested to my children that they not take a medal, but now that I contemplate the same situation for myself, I wonder if I should graciously say “no thank you” to the medal the next time I cross the finish line. Imagine if others follow suit! In time, would there be an option when you register to say no to the medal and reallocate the money saved to a cause, perhaps a local organizations that supports health and fitness for those less advantaged?
I am not against medals, but I do favor making conscious choices. If given the option, I’m sure there would be times I would take the medal, and other times that I would not. I cherish the memories of all of my races – the successes, the failures and all of the lessons I’ve learned about myself from each. That is why I run, and it’s my hope that my children feel similarly about the activities they participate in – medal or not. How about you?
As always, eat clean live well!