With age comes weakness — and appreciation

Matt Wooodrum

Earlier this week, we were watching SportsCenter at the breakfast table — a morning routine staple this summer. Well, truth be told, I was watching. The kids were doing other things, waiting for Top 10 Plays to start.

Between highlights, they had an item that was labeled in the left rail of the screen as “Story of the Day” — or at least that’s how it looked without my glasses. It was a story about 11-year-old Matt Woodrum, who did not let his cerebral palsy stop him from competing with his classmates during field day events at his school.

Halfway through the story it became a little dusty around our breakfast table. Parents watching the video may experience the same effect:
Matt Woodrum, Run With Me

As it neared the end, our 11-year-old must have been watching the story while keeping an eye on me out of the corner of his eye.

“Dad, don’t cry!” he exclaimed.

“But it’s a sweet story,” I replied.

“Dad, you’re getting weaker as you get older,” was his immediate comeback.

I just smiled, doing my best to blink away my watery eyes. I simultaneously had these thoughts:

  1. He has no idea how lucky he is.
  2. I have a slightly better  idea how lucky we are, but still never completely acknowledge or fathom the enormity of that good fortune.

Stories like this — and the ESPN series of My Wish vignettes that they show over the summer — are a stark reminder of how blessed our family is. As we wind down the summer, and reflect back on all the petty sibling arguments that I often label as “suburban problems,” we need reminders from the experiences of Matt Woodrum and others that there are much bigger challenges out there.

A little dust at the breakfast table goes a long way toward putting things in perspective.

The original video showing the whole race:

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