I love watching sporting events on TV. I like them for the obvious reasons that everyone else does: they are entertaining, fun, a chance to see the best in the world turning sport into art, etc.
But, being a runner, I also love it for the inspiration it provides. Watching Roger Federer or Serena Williams tear up the tennis court makes me want to push myself that bit harder on my next run. I'll never be a Kara Goucher, I'll never make it to a national championships (not even when I'm old enough for the Senior Olympics!), and I will never so much as win a local race. But that doesn't mean I can't take the inspiration provided by the best of the best, and use that inspiration to be the best runner that I can be.
And I had another source of inspiration as I was running this morning. I'm sure everyone knows that "Labor Day" is synonymous with "MDA Telethon". There is a young man at church called Ben who has been on the local MDA broadcast every year since he can remember, I would imagine. He was diagnosed when he was three; he is now a senior in high school. Most MD patients his age are in wheelchairs, and I can only hope that most MD patients his age have so many devoted prayer warriors as he does.
I didn't even know Ben yet when I first saw him on TV; I just saw the announcement in the church bulletin that he would be on it. So, I tuned in. I had no idea, that Labor Day in 2002, that I was looking at a family who in a matter of months would become some of my favourite people on the planet. I didn't know I was looking at a remarkable young man who would steal my heart and make his way permanently onto my prayer list. I didn't know that I would one day hear his entire story from his parents and require nearly an entire box of tissues (and I still do, every time I hear it). I just saw a young family, with three energetic little boys, who were facing an uphill battle and were winning. They are still winning.
On Saturday, I'll run another 10K, something Ben will never do. This morning as I ran, getting ready for Saturday, I thought of all the people who have rallied around Ben and his family. I thought of all the prayers sent heavenward on his behalf in the past 17 years, and added my own prayer to them this morning. I thought of how he'll be on TV later, and the city of Lubbock that has watched him grow up will see him one more time. I thought that come Saturday, when I start to get tired, I'll think of Ben and see if that doesn't push me to pick up the pace for one more mile.
Because it is amazing what one can do, when doing it for something (or someone!) beyond one's self.