Paula Ratcliffe of Great Britain set the women’s marathon world record in 2002, broke it in 2003, and was the odds on favorite to win the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
She started strong and was in the lead, but the 95 degree heat began to weigh heavily on her. At mile 22 of the 26.2 mile race, she suddenly stopped and sat down on a curb. She couldn’t finish. She put her head in her hands and began sobbing uncontrollably.
She was officially classified as DNF – Did Not Finish. A small Japanese woman crossed the finish line first for the gold, a Kenyan won silver, and an elated American finished third for bronze.
I remember the race vividly, not because of those who won at the top, but those who won at the bottom. Continue reading Finish the Race
Anticipation was high. All the mother’s anxiety was higher.
Water bottles? Check. Halftime orange slices? Check. After game snacks and juice boxes? Check.
Spectators set up lawn chairs battling for the best open places on the sidelines. This would be an epic contest, one replayed on family home movies for years to come.
Coaches were nervous. After all, their reputations were on the line. If their teams didn’t perform, well it would be obvious to everyone, and most importantly themselves, that they were failures as coaches, maybe even failures at life, like, forever!
The referee wanted to take control of the game of four-year olds in 4 vs. 4 game that doesn’t require World Cup refs. It didn’t matter. His nervous habit of rubbing his acne took the air out of his mystique. Plus, he was only thirteen, 5 feet tall and maybe 97 pounds.
The players weren’t stressed a bit. Although two players had to go potty before the game. Probably just nervous energy.
Continue reading Little Rascal Soccer