I finished off a busy week by running in the Frank Lloyd Wright 10k in my hometown of Oak Park. It’s a sentimental race, because four years ago, I was sitting on my porch and watched it go by, and said to myself, “Hey, maybe I should try running seriously again…” The next year, I ran it. The year after that, I ran the Chicago Marathon. Three marathons later, I’m something of an addict.
My goal was to break 40 minutes, something I’ve never done. Last time, in the spring, I finished a 10K in 40:06. Augh, as Charlie Brown would say. This time, I crossed the six mile mark with about 1:30 to spare… if I sprinted, ignored the pain in my legs and lungs, I might have gotten it… but I did not, and loped in at 40:22.
It occurs to me that that moment, right there, is what separates the excellent from the merely good, the men from the boys (sorry, girls), the winners and losers. Winners — at least in athletics — expect to win, every time, and will do anything to do so. The others — well, we are prepared for other outcomes.
Which thoughts were inspired by this column in the NY Times today. Obviously, the Red Sox haven’t been underdogs for a while, and there’s been a lot of chat about how the BoSox are now the Yankees. But that’s an argument based on payroll, and market dominance. This column talks about the fans, and how we could fall into the Yankee trap of demanding nothing but winning, all year, every year. Maybe I’m just trying to salve the wound of that :22, but right now I’m thinking that lowered expectations are just my height.
That said: GO BOSOX! WOO-HOO! WE’RE IN THE WORLD SERIES, BABY!
I mean, Dustin Pedroia would have sprinted till his legs came off.