Posted tagged ‘Running’

Middle School Track Practice

April 7, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               April 7, 2018

                               

Track practice started this past Monday…middle school track practice. An assortment of short and tall adolescents gathered for the uncertainty of what would happen on the outside oval.

Questions abounded…would the coaches run them so much they would fall down and throw up? Would they astound the world with their performance? Would people be looking at them as they trudged around the track? Would the one of the opposite sex, whose attention they desire, notice them? Would their uniform fit? Did they have the moxy to stay with it?

One hundred and twenty seventh and eighth grade students…wondering about what was ahead!

Coach McKinney gathered them together and shared his excitement about having all of them there. Some of them were grizzled one year veterans, having run as seventh graders. Others had the “deer in headlights” look about them.

“Coach Wolfe, what are we going to do today?” asked a paranoid seventh grade girl who I know.

“I think we’re going to warm up with a five mile run around the neighborhood and then do an interval ladder series, and then probably cool down with a two mile jog.”

Eyes as wide as the Grand Canyon, as she reconsiders whether she can switch from track to intramural golf.

“Just kidding! Actually, I’m not sure, so we’ll find out together!”

Exhale of relief!

Coach McKinney forewarns them that Colorado weather is unpredictable and emphasizes the importance of making sure they have the needed clothing. He makes the point that some days they may need to have layers of clothing. On Friday the temperature drops to 25 degrees with a few snow flurries. The seventh grade girls, who I am the coach for, run to me as soon as I enter the gym.

“Coach Wolfe, we aren’t going outside today, are we?”

“Yes!”

“But it’s cold!” whines the young lady wearing athletic shorts and a tee shirt.

“Yes…yes, it is! So, make sure you put your hoodie on and sweat pants also!”

“But I didn’t bring anything! I didn’t think we’d be going OUTSIDE!” (Emphasize whiny voice!)

“We will ALWAYS go outside unless the school administration says we can’t.”

WHINE: “Coach Wolfe!”

I smile at her and she gets the hint that whining will not change the location of our practice. At the end of practice we pass out team uniforms and sweats. The students welcome the sweats like they are Christmas presents!

As the week has gone on certain runners have impressed. Others have needed encouragement and words that instill confidence in them. Two new students- one from California and one from Florida- have used the week to get used to the 6,000 feet altitude, after coming from sea level. Pained facial expressions bring words of empathy from the coaches.

The coaches time everyone on different days during the week on the 100, 200, 400, 800, and a run around the high school and middle school campus that is close to a mile. Everyone finishes every race!

At the end of Friday’s practice a hundred and twenty students are still smiling. No one has asked for a transfer to golf, but everyone is praying for a warm Monday afternoon!

Running…to God

November 25, 2015

WORD FROM W.W.                                                                         November 24, 2015

                                                

A long-time friend of mine who recently lost her sister to cancer wrote a post on her Facebook page that resonated with me. She said, “Because of all your sincere prayers on my behalf my anger (that is a bit extreme) at God is gone. I was disappointed the Lord did not heal my sister on this earth. I am choosing to run to Him, not from him.”

     What is the direction of our run when we are in pain? It is easy to run from the God who didn’t answer our heartfelt prayer in the way we desired. Distance from God is a natural reaction to disappointment with God.

My own running has been punctuated by sprints away from God and slow crawls back to him. My running away in disappointment has sometimes been the result of God not going along with my desire for my enemy to suffer, or the absence of an angelic choir to sing about how my answer to a hotly debated problem is right.

Sometimes my running away comes from the unfairness of life, sometimes it happens because I don’t want to be fair with God.

My friend’s reference to running to him is using the lane with few footprints in it. David chose to run in this lane quite often, but, as we know, he also had his races of retreat.

What is the direction of our run? When the content of our prayers is dominated by the wants of our life we can expect that there will be a running from the Giver of grace. When our prayer is focused on our relationship with the Father running to him will often be our response.

If I am secure in my belief that what God wants for me is wholeness, not hurt, I will be slowly running to him.

We have a way of putting “what if’s” in our theological outcomes. Another friend of mine from years ago lost his daughter in an accident recently. I can not understand his grief, and, therefore, how he is journeying through the loss of life. Knowing the depth of his spiritual journey I’ve got a feeling it resembles someone swimming laps in a pool…the swimming away is followed closely by a swim to…and then a swim away!

My choice to run to God seems much less complicated than his.

This is Thanksgiving Week. A time to run to God and recognize that he is caring, concerned, loving, and kind. In a world with daily terrorist threats and warnings I’m choosing to be in the shadow of his wing…the cleft of the rock…rather than the isolation of my disappointment.

Running The Mile Twenty Days In

June 20, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      June 20, 2013

 

Today is my twentieth day in a row of writing a post for my blog, Words from W.W. I wish that I could say that I’ve found my groove, but the life of a pastor has no groove. The last four nights have found me in four different locations for either meetings or group activities. Carol and I had dinner last night at 8:30. Tonight we had to eat separately.

The only consistency so far in my thirty day writing challenge is that I’ve written each day. Diana Stucky, my administrative assistant, has been great in sending my words out to our congregation. Sometimes she gets the article in the late morning (Seldom!), and sometimes she gets the words in the evening (Often!).

Day 20 means I’m two-thirds of the way. The last week will be a challenge in that I will be in the Dominican Republic, but I’m hopeful that I can post something about our mission experience there each day.

Two-thirds of the way is the point of commitment. If you quit now everyone will wonder what your problem is. They will just shake their heads in a kind of pitiful disgust at your inability to finish anything.

I was a miler back in high school. Lap three was the hardest lap of the four lap race. Lap three was about guts and not feeling sorry for yourself. As a runner I could tell if an opposing runner was beat by the facial expression during the third lap. If his look said “Somebody feel sorry for me”, or he seemed to be looking for his mommy, the race was over.

The third quarter mile was about maintaining a fast pace when your legs feel like jelly.

It seems that there are a lot of sprinters in life trying to run a mile. What I mean is they burn themselves out in the first few moments of an important leg of their life journey. There’s a beginning sense of excitement and exhilaration about this new venture, or pursuit of a new calling, or launching of a new idea.

And then a few strides into the journey reality hits that this is not going to be the piece of cake that the person thought it was going to be. Sprinters are about cake. Milers are about oatmeal (I’m not sure where that came from! It just came out of my mouth.)

The Christian journey is a long-distance run that takes in beautiful landscapes, but also desolate desert. It’s easy to sprint in front of the beginning cheering masses, but commitment is required to get you through the periods of aloneness and depression.

The third lap is when people take a hike and never come back, but it’s also when the committed stays the course.