Game Changer: Our Starting Line

by Deb Bryan

Starting Line

Last Thursday’s Chicago Tribune ran a front page story, “Cross-Country Gains Steam” (October 3).  The article described the efforts of coaches and runners from Chicago Public Schools to use cross-country running to give and get experience in competition and personal improvement.  The runners are not star athletes.  The runners are city kids whose school systems give poor education, who come from neighborhoods where most people won’t walk, and from a place where athletic equipment is merely dream material.  They run because they can.  They run because they don’t want to go home.  They run because they want to feel invested in their school.  They run for their future.

Little ideas bring exponential results

Remember when you and a friend from grade school came up with ideas for play like dolls, army men, fashion show, model airplanes, or magic show?  Man that was fun.  Nobody told us how to be creative we just would for hours or days, and ideas would just go wild.  The hardest thing was to be called away and to stop being creative.  Even though we knew we would do it again, it was hard to quit.

Or remember the books on adventures of leaders who were on everyone’s lips: explorers, scientists, inventors, statesman, ball players or maybe they were all those things.  I know I loved going with them through story as they climbed high mountains, had a horse shot out from under them, had an idea and made it into reality, endured tough time and sometimes, people were telling them they couldn’t do it.

How many of us can still smile as we remember those early years.  Did you know that same kid who thought those ideas is still in you?  That same creativity, love of adventure, determination is still in the intelligence you use to do simple things today.  You may have buried those thoughts, thinking  thoughts you equate with being an adult, but those ideas, dreams, visions are not lost.

Capitalize on small ideas and minimize errors

If government, family, or friends voices diminished what would you, could you do?    What idea or ideas have been simmering for a while in your imagination?  Sometimes implementing ideas looks like a huge effort.  Similar to trying to keep a beach ball underwater, suppressing dreams and desirers also takes a lot of energy.  If a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, where could you travel to in the next few years by starting today?  Your competition would be just you.  You who just knows there is a better way.

Experiments never fail

“I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” (Thomas A. Edison).  Can you fall off the ground floor?  What does it matter if you get a little dirty or messed up in the process?  Somehow working your dreams makes you forget to look into the mirror.  Dirt, sweat, and tears on your face are part of the experience of putting your ideas into practice, not a lifetime condemnation.  Besides, the one who works the experiment becomes the resident expert not the critic.

Resident Dreamer Solution

Running has made me a better person. When you run over a hill, you learn you have to work hard to get over it.  Any problems in my life, running’s way harder.  How could you not get over those problems?  You got over that hill?” Elizabeth Bueno, 17 years old Chicago high school student.

You and I may have been given a gift during this job search; the gift of time.  The gift of time to take personal stock, time to retool, time to look at things from a different perspective.  Or perhaps time to hear a long dormant call to a path we desired before, where rocks in the road were just mere distractions and not the finish line.  Now, where are those running shoes?


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