Sometime around March 11th 1986, a small, mischievous girl named Jocelyn coaxed her lazy legs to stand and willed them to move forward. After a few wobbly steps, she decided this slow, dull motion was unsatisfactory; she must figure out how to move faster. The fuzzy tail of family's feline caught her attention, and without much thought, she took off running after it. It was then that the world according to her father and mother changed forever.
Running has always been a part of my life. It started with that fated moment when I was just a baby, and hasn't stopped since. My parents, searching for an outlet in which we could channel our energy, placed my sister and I in track and field at a young age (I'm thinking 5, but I could've been 4).
I have so many memories from running: when I was 7 or 8, and my sister and I where on a 5 mile run with my Dad (child abuse anyone?). I was not in the mood nor enjoying this "family activity" when I slipped and fell (maybe on purpose), scrapping my entire palm so it was filled with dirt and gravel, and my Dad saying there was no way I was getting out of the run even if I was bleeding... and I should suck it up and stop crying. Oh the memories.
And there was the time I got kicked off the cross country team in high school because the coach overheard me yelling at my sister, telling her to slow down her pace so I could keep up with her. Apparently, my unsportsmanlike and self-serving attitude was like a disease that could spread and damage the entire team. I had to write a heartfelt apology to be let back on a team sport I hated (No, I did not choose to run cross country in high school; my parents forced me). My apology probably went something like this:
I'm so sorry for my actions the other day. They were uncalled for and disrespectful to you and my other teammates. If you give me the opportunity to prove myself and let me back on the team, I guarantee something like this will never happen again. This team means so much to me, and I appreciate all the training and guidance you've given me over the last two years. Sincerely, Jocelyn.
I've had to write a lot of apology letters for "my actions" in this lifetime. I can pump 'em out like Cocoa can fart (sorry, he's been really fart-active lately, so it's been on my mind. Also, why is the dog allowed to fart around my husband, but I am not? There's something wrong with that).
But the point of this story (and I assure you there is one!), is that you have to give people goals and make the rewards very apparent if you're going to ask (or demand) they participate in challenging activities like running. The reward that always made running worth the effort for me was nachos - sweet, delicious, neon orange, cheesy, crunchy, wonderfulness. I would dream about all the nachos I could eat during track meets. Would my mom only allow me to buy one serving, or could I convince her to let me get two? Would I share my nachos with anyone? Or would I sit under the bleachers where no one could see me so that I wouldn't have to share? I think it was the nachos that pulled me over the hump and made me realize running did a lot more good for my body than bad. Nachos were good, and every time I was at a track meet there were nachos for sale, so it must have meant that running was good too.
So the next time you're trying to get your child, brother, sister, mother to do something, coax 'em with a fresh plate of nachos. I think it'll do the trick.