Eck. Mariano. Pap. …Luau.
That could’ve been me on that list if only my father had put a baseball in my hands when I was little. I’m not particularly gifted athletically, but being left-handed, all I really had to do was get the ball over the plate and I’m sure I could’ve been a major league pitcher, even an all-star reliever…
…ok, probably not.
But as a kid, I used to dream about being a closer. Coming in at the end of the game, bases loaded, no outs, my team desperately clinging to a 1 run lead in the bottom of the 9th…the crowd going wild…
9 pitches. 9 strikes. 3 outs. Game over. The clubhouse erupts as the ballpark goes silent.
Okay, okay, at age 42 I still have those dreams, but it’s a little late for me to pick up a baseball.
Recently however, I’ve picked up a new way to become a closer.
As you may recall, last November, at the New York City Marathon, after finishing my 26.2 miles,
I ran back to mile 23 to wait for my girl Jersey and run her in.
As spent as my legs were, it was an absolute thrill to help her get to the finish line of her very first marathon.
A week later I hopped in as a bandit at a local half-marathon. After finishing, I intended to run home. Part way there, I was spotted on course by a friend who had just read my race recap of New York. She asked if I could run her in. Who was I to say no? and then on the way home, I saw another reader and I did it again.
Not long thereafter I received this message from a dailymile friend:
We met at the Run to Remember, just briefly. I’m a big fan of your blog. While I was out on my run today I had a crazy idea/request….Would you consider running me in the last 5 -10 miles of Boston next year?
It will be my first marathon. I’m really excited to run it but I know I will be pretty beat at the end. And it would just be super cool to have one of my local running heroes help me achieve this goal.
Crazy, I know; I’m basically a total stranger. So, what the scoop? I’m on the Dana-Farber team and will be running a slow 11 min pace (possibly slower). I would gladly make a $100 contribution to Autism Speaks for your kindness…
I figured the worse you could say was no, and that’s not so bad.
How can I say no? Especially since she’s offering to make a donation to my favorite charity!
And so it seems that I may have found a new way to become a closer. Barring an unexpected trip on Patriots Day, I plan to run L in to the finish, helping her over the last 9-10 miles of her first marathon and then run home (a good way to get one of my 20-milers in before Sugarloaf). It may not be quite as riveting as watching Mo or Eck or Pap break the hearts of the opposing teams, but it is pretty damned satisfying AND it helps one more person achieve their goal of 26.2 miles.
Maybe this is the start of a new trend/business venture/charity fund raiser – Luau’s Closers for Charity. On race day, we guarantee we will get you to the finish line!
Who’s with me? Do you need a closer? Do you want to be a closer? I do need to start raising funds for Team Up! with Autism Speaks for the New York City Marathon this November! You name the race – for the right donation, I’ll be there to bring you home! Email me!