Are you ever just a little caught off guard by something you are watching? Maybe find yourself a little emotionally caught in the power of what can happen when people come together for the common good. I love those moments. If you haven’t had one lately, let me share one with you.
THE AARON ROGERS OPEN INVITATIONAL:
By way of reminder, I spend part of my spring as a track coach for a local high school. I am often humbled by what I get to learn from these young athletes. This last fall, one of them, Aaron Rogers asked if I might help him with his senior project. I’ve learned over my many years, it does pay to ask what the senior project is before I volunteer, so I ask. Turns out Aaron’s vision was to organize and put on a 5 k run for the community that would raise funds for the Oregon Food Bank and for the Elden Kellar Scholarship. (a scholarship in honor of one of the true treasures of our community). Racing through my mind are the million tasks that it takes to put on a run. Knowing there are a million easier ways to get a grade for a senior project than this, I inquire “You sure?”, and before he can answer, I hear myself say out loud “Why a run?” Without hesitation, his reply, “I don’t want to just do any other senior project. I want to do something that will give back a little something of what I have gotten from here, where I live, and maybe to create something that will inspire future seniors to carry it on, to share, to give something back.”
What? Could you say no to that?
At our first meeting, we simply brainstormed all the tasks that would have to occur from that day to the completion of the run. I shared with him that my part would mainly be to be advisory, mentor, and sideline cheerleader. But if this was going to happen, it was his baby to run with and make happen.
I also thought it my responsibility to not let him get his hopes up too high. I shared with him that if 20 to 30 people came out for this, he ought to consider it a great success. Will I ever learn?
Long story short, Aaron ran with this particular project with the same all out abandonment and enthusiasm that he does in his races, and it is contagious. Turns out, there were many others that could not say no to Aaron.
This would be a good place to offer my personal “Thank you so much”! To our local community. Thank you for getting behind Aaron, for sharing his vision, for coming out 150+ strong, contributing and running in this event. To the School District for all their support and allowing Aaron the use of Hare Field and the facilities. To the city leaders who so supported Aaron. Thank you to our local policemen, who gave of there free time to come out and help direct traffic. When you guys started showing up at the track, I was sure I had accidentally set off the silent alarm and that we were all in trouble. What a gift you were and are. To the insurance people that figured out a way to insure the race without breaking the bank. I was floored when I heard what you were able to do it for. To the local grocer who donated food, water, etc. for the event. To the sponsors who gave of their time and money to cover all the costs, and then some. To the many, many high school students and parents who volunteered and who shared the vision and made it such a seamless, wonderful event. To Aaron’s parents, Dan & Lisa, what wonderful love and support you demonstrate for your children and allow us to share from the sidelines, thank you. To all of you, what an inspiration! Thank you!
My point? My observation? It only takes the vision, the enthusiasm of one individual to move a community.
My question? What is your vision, your passion? Who might you move to action?
Whatever it is, whoever you are……for heavens sake, just do it…..and…have fun…..Fred