I was privileged to attend my daughter’s interhouse sport last week. It was the first time I’ll be attending such & I made a commitment to do my best to attend every other subsequent editions because of some life lessons learnt.
One of the most heart-touching moment for me was during the first set of races. Twas a 400 metres run for the first batch of junior level girls. Twas a race I will not forget hastily.
Barely had the whistle been blown before the 4 houses being represented were on their feet running as if trying hurriedly to catch up with their future dreams. Yellow, white, purple & red houses … all girls running with every iota of energy in them.
The lady in white house was up to a good start and was clearly in the lead immediately the race started. The majority of the spectators seemed to be in applause for the lady that was in the lead especially when you consider that she was quite a distance from her runner-up. As the applause grew louder, I felt an inclination in my heart to WATCH THE LAST MAN.
Well, it so happened that the last MAN was a girl who seemed to be taking the race unseriosly: she was jogging. She represented the RED house. It was almost as if she was trained by a professional coach who’s motto was THE RACE IS NOT TO THE SWIFT.
My eyes were fixated on her as she remained consistent with the pace at which she ran. She started out at the 4th position and soon passed the 3rd person and then the 2nd person and as she was about to pass the lady in WHITE, I felt some water droplets on my laps. There had been a thunderstorm earlier and one would have thought that the rain was about to start again. But the water droplets were not from the clouds. The droplets were from my eyes: I was in tears.
Sometimes I wonder what it is about my nature that easily moves me to tears when I have hearty encounters with Life, God & People. Call me emotional & you may be right. But you would have been a little emotional if you had witnessed what I saw. You should have seen my emotional excitement when the jogging lady representing RED house eventually won the race. You would have seen me in tears and assumed that the lady in RED was my daughter and you would have been WRONG.
For a few minutes after that race I sat down speechless with a lump in my throat as if I had cried out my soul over the death of a loved one. I reminisced about what just happened before my eyes. It dawned upon me that this is the story of many of us in life. Some of us started out sprinting in life and enjoyed all the applause of the audience. However, we did not finish the race that mattered. Those that eventually finish the race usually didn’t look like it in the beginning but eventually the entire stadium gives what seems to be a standing ovation to them when they finished.
In a flash of a thought I understood one of the meanings of the words of a great man I adore.
… but many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Although I’m a little rusty when it comes to concluding writeups like this, one thing seems to ring clear in my head: THE RACE IS NOT ALWAYS TO THE SWIFT. It isn’t. Watching the last man reminded me of the importance of putting some things in my life in perspective. You should too.