Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday's Musings on Sports - Of Marathons, Missions and Meanings

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. Although Max resigned from 1050 more than a year ago, I have tried to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

Yesterday was one of New York's signature events - the New York City Marathon. On the first Sunday in November, tens of thousands come to New York to run through the five boroughs. Millions more stand on the sidelines, hoping for a brief glimpse of friends or loved ones who are running in the race. The marathon also has its share of pageantry, as people run in various costumes, or sometimes propose at the finish line. And of course, there is the drama of the race itself and the question of whether an American will win.

This year's marathon was even more notable than most, based on the stories of two of the runners. One of the runners was Edison Pena, a Chilean national who was in the news over the last few months because he ran miles every day while he was trapped underground in a mine in Chile. When Pena was finally rescued from the mine, he was invited by New York City to be an honorary guest at the race. But Pena, had other ideas as he indicated to the race officials that he wanted to run in the race.

As reported by the AP, Pena ran the race to motivate others, explaining that “In this marathon I struggled,” he said. “I struggled with myself, I struggled with my own pain, but I made it to the finish line. I want to motivate other people to also find the courage and strength to transcend their own pain.” (To see the full article, click here).

Another motivational figure from yesterday's race was Amani Toomer, the former NY Giants wide receiver. Toomer entered into an agreement with Timex that they would donate $1 to a local charity for every person that Toomer passed in the race. So Toomer started last in the race and passed an estimated 20,000 runners. (For more on Toomer and his run, click here).

The use of Toomer's talents to raise money for charity and Pena's run to motivate others are truly admirable. Often times, people find themselves in unanticipated situations which they could not have predicted, but which give them an opportunity to do something great. Megilas Esther has a discussion between Mordechai and Esther, wherein Mordechai asks Esther to go to the king and ask for the Jews to be spared from Haman's plan. Esther indicates that she cannot go because no one can go before the king without permission. Mordechai responds - who knows if for this very reason you have become the queen? We see that people are put in certain positions so that they can act and be great.

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Anonymous said...

What a great post!

Batya said...

Marathon running isn't for everyone, but it's a great post. And about Queen Esther, there's a hint that she'd be received when it says that King Achashverosh "ahav" "loved" her. I'll have to blog about that.