Kids Tri…REALLY Hard!!

Early yesterday morning, I received an email from April asking if anyone on our Leadership team would be available to help with the afternoon’s Kids Triathlon as she would be shorthanded.  Now, I always support everything we do here, and share in successes with enthusiasm and pride.  Having said that, it’s no secret that my interests have always leaned toward the ‘mind’ and ‘spirit’ part of our mission rather than the ‘body’ aspect.  While I’m thrilled to cheer on our members, motivate our participants, and help my colleagues in any way, I’m typically on the sidelines when it comes to actual involvement.

I’ve been hearing so much about this Kids Tri Club – members are posting on Facebook, there’s an enormous buzz around our building, and staff and volunteers have been working to market this in exceptionally creative ways.  Of course, I wouldn’t know a Triathlon if it kicked me, but I sure am happy to see everyone so excited.  When April asked for help at stations around the sidewalk that surrounds the building for the biking part of the Tri, I checked my schedule and found I’d be able to help.  Not knowing what to expect, I marched out to the corner  at 4.30pm and waited.  I had been told my job would entail making sure the participants stayed on the sidewalk and to warn pedestrians of incoming bikers.  There I stood, in the pleasant late afternoon coolness in our main driveway, feeling happy to help.

As I write this, I’m still finding my eyes welling up.  A volunteer about a hundred yards away began clapping and cheering – here they come!  I stood, transfixed, as I watched the approaching bikers.  The first group consisted of three kids of about 10 years old; as I saw them careening toward me, I was awestruck.  Droplets of water from their swim were sailing off their bodies, catching the sun and creating an amazing glow.  As they drew nearer, I saw the most intense looks of focus and determination on their young faces…I was humbled and very, very impressed.  They expertly navigated the curves of our sidewalk and were gone in a flash to continue their course. 

Some younger children began arriving, and they were no less tenacious.  One boy of about six said, “This is super hard!!” on his way by…every lap.  It was truly an incredible thing to witness – many of these kids had been motivated by their parents who were involved in our Adult Tri Club, but others simply saw our promotions and wanted to give it a ‘Tri’.  Not all of them will go on to be athletes, but what an incredible thing to be able to say they’ve done. 

I can’t wait until next week.

Erica Donovan
Wheeler Regional Family YMCA

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