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Progress

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On Saturday night, after his teammate Dwayne Wade was asked a somewhat inane question, LeBron James muttered, “that’s retarded” under his breath.

Not that I’m a LeBron fan, but it was disappointing.

What was even worse for me was his defense of his actions Monday morning:

“I didn’t understand the question,” James said. “…it’s the same as me saying, ‘I don’t think that’s a great question’ or, ‘I think it’s a stupid question.’ …I don’t know why someone would even ask him that question.”

As Charlie Zegers at About.com points out, then according to LeBron, “retarded” and “stupid” are synonyms.

Right.

Good job, LeBron!

It really got me down.

But I didn’t stay down too long. By the end of the day, I actually felt kind of good. It wasn’t LeBron’s comment or his defense that I felt good about.  No, it was the across-the-board condemnation of both on sports radio here in Boston – from the morning shows into the evening hours, every sports radio talk show I tuned into, both on AM and FM, universally ridiculed LeBron for his use of the word.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the radio show hosts, but suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised that both left and right leaning personalities were on the same page on this topic.

Now, I’m not particularly PC. I do lean left on most politically social issues, but I also feel that the far left (along with the far right) has hijacked both the political discussion and process that is supposed to serve you and me. That being said, I feel there are some words that should be rarely, if ever, uttered – retarded is one of them.

It is hurtful; it is mean; it is lazy.

Kevin Arnovitz at the ESPN Heat Index Blog wrote this:

I also don’t think it’s hypersensitive to ask people to be more precise with their language — not as a political imperative, but because it’s so easy to do. This is life’s ultimate value play: We refrain from stigmatizing groups of people with our speech at very little cost, and we reap the benefit of collective dignity and knowing we didn’t hurt anyone. How does this play out in the practical world?

If a reporter asks a silly or inappropriate question, call it silly or inappropriate.

There was a time when the public reaction would have been to laugh at or ignore LeBron’s comment.  I have come to realize that those that stand by and “let” hurtful things happen to others while they passively observe are just as guilty as those that perpetrate the hurt.  Needless to say, it still happens, but it was nice to see that some progress has been made.

I hope that LeBron figures it out.  Like it or not, he is a role model.


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One year ago yesterday I ran the Manchester City Marathon – my first.  I was convinced that I was going to qualify for Boston in that race.  Looking back, I realize that I really had no idea what I truly was getting into.  My strategy was rudimentary at best.   It didn’t really matter.  I abandoned it within the first few miles.  I flew through the first half in just over 1:35.  I pumped my fist at my family as I flew by them. There are no pictures of that moment because I was 5 – 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I was flying.

Then I had to run the second half. The second half took me just over 2:20, including 20 minutes to get from mile 20 to mile 21.

I came nowhere near qualifying for Boston. As proud as I was for finishing my first marathon, I was devastated.

It was on that day that I finally realized that running a marathon, forget qualifying for Boston, was hard.

***

In 6 days I will be running the ING New York City Marathon. It will be my 5th marathon in 53 weeks. To say that my experience in New York will be different from that in Manchester is a bit of an understatement. Yes, the cities and crowds are different, but I am speaking more directly to the experience of running the 26.2 miles themselves.

In 53 short weeks I have made a tremendous amount of progress. I have gone from a 3:54 marathon where my quads froze up, to a Boston Qualifying time of 3:19, to possibly gunning for a 3:15 this coming Sunday.

A 35 minute improvement.

Progress.

The best part is that I know that my running is a work in progress.  There is still much to be done, many miles to be run, a number of milestones to be reached.

But I don’t say all of this to toot my own horn.  No.  I say this to tell you that anybody, ANYBODY, can get there.  If you train hard, eat right and run smart, progress is inevitable.  The speed and measure of progress is different for each individual.

If you have a running goal, any goal for that matter…believe! Believe!!!

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