Monday, February 15, 2016

Water in the Desert

Carolyn and I volunteering
Yesterday for the 2nd year in a row, I volunteered at the LA Marathon. Last year I gave out water at Mile 15 and had a sign that said, "Smile, It Makes You Run Faster!"  That sign generated all sorts of comments. This year, my friend and I were in the Finish Area, handing out Gatorade. Our job was to make the Gatorade, pour into cups and then set up the table - 3 rows high. Our shift was from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm.

Being at the finish line allows you to see all the runners as they walk to meet their families. I saw "Superman" running in his drawers, a ton of Elvises, men and women running in tutus, husbands and wives running together, folks overwhelmed with emotion upon completion, folks in pain and requiring medical attention, and some of the fittest and finest specimens of humans.

To me being a volunteer is not a big deal. I do it because I like it and it's my way of offering support. Apparently this support is a huge deal to a runner. I heard so many thank you's I actually felt special. These were not your run of the mill or perfunctory thank yous, these were heartfelt. It was almost as if the volunteers made a tangible difference in the runner's outcome.

"Thank you, sweetheart."
"Thanks for being here."
"Thanks for all you do."
"You didn't have to be here but we are so glad you're here. Thank you."

All through the day, we heard  this over and over again. It was like we were water in the desert to these runners and it's not because we were handing out liquids  - some runners outright rejected the Gatorade; if they didn't have Gatorade ever again, they would be happy.  It was because we were there for them. Last year I got a hug from a runner who was so amazed that so many people were out there cheering her on. A hug!

This experience reinforces a valuable lesson - no matter how insignificant it seems to you, your support of others is valuable. Whenever you can, cheer on the people in your life - support your children with their life dreams; support your spouse with that crazy venture he/she may have; support your co-worker who chose to confide in you. If for whatever reason, you're not close to anyone - the next time there's a marathon or a road race in your area, go out there and cheer those runners on. It will make a world of difference to them and you will feel good also.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 [KJV]

Have you ever volunteered at a sporting event?


  1. This is very inspiring! I will seek out more ways to shine my light.

  2. Yup, I believe we have a responsibility to one another . . . so, while I will likely not be the one volunteering at a sporting event (I annually avoided the Boston Marathon), I volunteer and work in other ways to encourage people. By the way, nice new look of Life Notes. I've been contemplating a new look for mine but haven't had the time (yet) to get it together. Plus, I'm sort of partial to the flowers (from my backyard). But yours is lovely!


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