Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Giving Back...

I got a call last week inviting me to be the "grand Marshall" for the Kahakai Elementary School Keiki Triathlon! Every year, just after the BIG Ironman the local school just off Ali'i Drive has a huge keiki (children's) triathlon. Every class is a different country, they get really involved, and the weeks leading up the triathlon all the children spend their PE time practicing the events.

I taught at Kahakai for four years and lead my class through the triathlon, taught them about their country, and encouraged sport and physical activity. It was truly the best part of the school year. The children really love it. Every October they volunteer for Ironman Hawaii so they understand what triathlon is. They see athletes running, walking, puking. They understand it all... for them to take part gives them a hope that one day they too can accomplish something it Ironman or college... or just living a happy life.

Now, each year the Grand Marshall is someone "famous" to the children. When I got the call to be the Grand Marshall I was so excited! Not only was it the school I used to teach at, it was a chance for me to personally thank the children for volunteering during the Ironman!

Today I got to see children who handed me water on the run course, I got to meet children who cheered from their homes for me and the other Ironman athletes. It was so amazing! The children all wanted high-fives and even gave me a marker to sign their water bottles. They wanted hugs and HOPE in them that they would make it through their "big day". I think I lost my voice cheering and laughing! It was wonderful to see them not worrying about nutrition or bonking. They ran full blast from the start and never looked back. They never took nutrition breaks or looked at heart rate monitors. Come to think of it, I never even noticed any of them look for their competition. They knew just finishing makes them a winner.

The thing I learned most from the children today, and that I hope to never lose sight of, is that triathlon is all about having fun...

1 comment:

ShirleyPerly said...

That is really cool! I'm sure the kids loved having you back. Indeed, sometimes I think we adults get too caught up in all the technology, training, competition, etc. and stop having fun. Nice to see the kids keeping it real!