Diving for Gold

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Three of my children have been avid participants in Cross Country and Track and Field sports. Two of those three have run the 400 meter sprint and 400 meter relay, many times. My son says it is an extremely torturous race. It’s an all-out-full-throttle-pedal-to-the-metal stampede from the time the gun goes off until you cross the finish line. In fact, according to said-son, when you do cross the finish line, there is often pain involved: head throbbing, chest heaving, limbs quivering and feeling like jelly—all good stuff, if you’re an athlete.

I remember a particular race when my son was coming down the homestretch in the 400, neck and neck with the runner who was just ever-so-slightly behind him. Dear son tried to turn his head to glance at the second runner’s position. That movement was just enough, aerodynamically-speaking, to give the other guy the edge. My son came in second. At the time, it was his first season and he was often learning lessons like that. It was a great race. The two shook hands, and my son laughed and said, “I knew I shouldn’t have turned my head.”

Both runners gave their all. You could see the muscles in their arms and legs, flexed to the max; the veins in their temples were pulsing and the strain showed in every fiber of their being as they both ran across the finish line.

Did you catch that?

They both ran across the finish line. That is what’s supposed to occur in a running race; is it not?

In the aftermath of the recent 2016 summer Olympics, I am still waiting for someone to explain why a female runner from the Bahamas was allowed to take the gold medal by diving across the finish line.

Seriously. Diving for gold?

My daughter, who qualified as one of the top two runners on her team for district championships in the 400 last year, suggested that if runners are meant to dive across finish lines, it would be happening all the time. She said, “If that’s the way it is, I’ll take a few hits for the team—a few scraped shoulders and knees, a little bit of blood, for first place.”

She was obviously being facetious. In our ongoing discussions about this momentous Olympic event (after all, the runner took home the gold medal) we both agree that a running race should always involve people running from start to finish. The “official” ruling contains words that state something akin to, “the person who reaches the finish line in a vertical position first, wins.” So, I guess, as the Bahamian 400 meter female athlete was diving in head first for a gold medal, she was apparently still “vertical” as she reached the line.

I was glad to hear my daughter say she would not want to win the gold medal “on a dive.”

After all, taking home the gold in a running race suggests you ran across the finish line before any of the other runners.

Perhaps not.

 

Writer Bio

Judy DudichJudy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.

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