Sunday, May 23, 2010

If you can't be an athlete...

   The day came early and ran through several themes before it was done.  Now it is 5:15, and like a business traveler with jet lag, I need to force myself to stay awake until a respectable bedtime (and still find the voice to record some more of “Child Development and You,” not its real title). 

This is good news for you, though, because it means I can spend at least an hour telling you this story, and you can  eat a peanut butter sandwich, or other things that I imagine are sad enough that  DrawingIn can perk it up.  And I’ll disclaim this installment this way: it could probably be funnier, linkier, and glurgier, but these hands are tired.

In fact, I have stared at the space under the above paragraph for about 20 minutes, trying to decide how much introduction is required to get to the part I want to tell.  Here it is in as few sentences as possible.  (Naturally, I meant as few as possible for me)

“Please report to Gate B between 5:00 and 5:30 am,”  they asked, and I said sure, after ensuring that I had somewhere nearby to stay the night before.  My assignment: “course support.”  You know what this is.
It comes with no other instructions.
I have to interrupt my own story with this sidebar, because it is pretty funny.  Friends of mine  confessed last night at dinner that they were very confused about what I was doing at this event, once they had cleared up that I certainly was not running.  Despite all appearances, I am no athlete, and you don’t have to know me long or well to learn that early.

burns and allen
It was like this:
George – well, I know she’s not running, but what is it again?

Gracie – I think she’s protesting…or something.

George – what?  it’s protesting…?  No, it’s a fundraiser.  For the Jimmy Fund, I think --- why would you protest the Jimmy Fund?

Gracie – well, I don’t know what it is, but it’s something about the war.  I thought she was protesting the war…

You don’t know how much I love knowing I was the subject of a shout-through-rooms husband/wife act.  We cleared it up.  Not protesting.  NOW (but not because I’m above it).

I’ll say this, though – at a protest, they feed you clever chants to say while you are serving as the Wall of Sound.  Not so with Course Support.  “Cheer them on,” said our crew chief, then hopped on the shuttle bus.

Don’t leave me on my own with this.  ‘Cause what I've got is, “You are physically fit and ambitious.  I’m not.  GO!”  (wooooooooo….)

They dropped 8 of us off on Mass and Comm Aves (we don’t waste syllables in Boston) and we waited an hour and a half for the race to start.  Some cocktail party chat, a run for coffees, a briefr misunderstanding of which side of the road we should be on… It was a good corner, since it was both the 3/4 mile and 5 mile mark, so there was plenty of cheering to do, but this is NOT the Boston Marathon.  Perhaps it will be in time, but the 8 of us, and 2 friends-of-runners were on our own in front of Sleeparama to annoy the upstairs residents.

Things I tried:  (put your beverage down)
- all right, let’s go, let’s get this party started, things of that nature
- yelling out people’s t-shirts at them:  All right, Boston PD… There you go, Army, and (I promise) “Semper Fi, Marine.”

You should really know what you are talking about when you are in a situation like this. 

- looking good/strong/fit
- you can do it/make it/take it

Big hands, big voice – why stick her at a registration table?  Let’s give her enough open street to dork right out of her mind.  To heighten the scene, let’s have her shout things at 4000 runners wearing iPods, even though they have been expressly prohibited for safety reasons

- 5 mile mark right ahead
- you’re almost there
- I smell hot dogs.  ( I was really running out of material)

All ages, all abilities.  A runner with an artificial leg, 3 guys running in full packs, women in pink ARMY shirts,  others in GPBL replica uniforms, some runners with names of their fallen buddies and mates written down their arms . A woman running in a sequined party dress and sneakers, for reasons known only to her dress.

- Glamour Run.  Awesome.
I am purposely leaving out exclamation points so you can feel the Liz Lemon agony of the content itself.  

High fives as they each pulled past that 5th mile.  They actually seemed grateful for the encouragement.  And we weren’t even a water station.

After I returned to Fenway, I found myself amidst the care-box assembly line, where soon-to-be-my-new-friend Jerry was alone with a tape gun and a line.  I could have gone home; my assignment was done.  Instead I jumped right in with Jerry. 

 Couldn’t have been happier.  I taped boxes shut for the next 3 hours, with no call to cheer anything.

Here is where I would post video from the day, but none is posted yet.  You’ll have to check back later.

Next weekend is Memorial Day.  Combined US military casualties for the campaigns known as OEF (Afghanistan) and OIF (Iraq) total 5,480.  It is true the numbers are decreasing, but there is very much a war on.

1 comment:

  1. So... not doing the 26 mile "Walk for Hunger" I take it? :-)

    I'd rather run than cheer... but I have arthritic hands (bad for prolonged clapping) and I hate the feeling of a scratchy yell throat.


Comments Build Community! We thank you for yours. Spam comments are not welcome and will not be posted.