The JV Boys ran the last cross country event of the morning. They had to run two miles across the intramural fields at Baylor. There were tons of people at the meet early in the day, but by the time the JV Boys were lining up to run it had cleared out quit a bit. There were well over a hundred boys in the race. The starting gun fired at 10:45 a.m. and the boys were flying across the finish line in 12 and 13 minutes. It took my my kiddo about 15 minutes, which was great for him, but definitely back of the pack. He threw up when he finished. It is part of his routine. He grabbed a cup of water and was walking over to see us, sweating, breathing hard, spitting to clean out his mouth.
I was still looking out on the field at the young guy who was still out there. Still with a long way to go. He was the last one on the field. He was on our team. He still had about half a mile to go to reach the finish line. He was out there alone. Everyone else was done. He was still going. Moving slow, but you could just tell that he was not giving up. He was not stopping. The course organizers were actually starting to take down the course markers and some of the finish line flags. He was still running.
If there is a universal truth, it is that "no one wants to be last". No one. My heart was breaking for him.
Then I noticed a couple of boys jumping the barriers. They were his teammates. They were running along beside him.
I pointed this out to my son and his friend and before the sentence was even out of my mouth they had jumped the fence and were racing across the field to join their teammates. To say I was proud of their instant reaction would be the understatement of the year. It wasn't long before more of their teammates were tearing across that field to run in with the last guy.
I blinked the tears from my eyes and starting snapping some pictures.
They were cheering for him. Encouraging him. Clapping for him. Those that weren't running beside him were waiting at the finish line screaming their encouragement.
It was one of those moments in sports that won't make the highlight reel. But to tell you the truth, I could watch it over and over and over and over again and still get choked up.
Every once in a blue moon, on a very rare occasion, you get lucky enough to witness the best of humanity. When it is happening you know it is special.
I was lucky enough this weekend.