“We are…” “UNITED!!!!” The screams of almost 200 5th graders, combine to overpower the pounding pop music. The excitement in the air is palpable. And it’s contagious. My attitude about my school’s fundraiser has gone from “yeah I guess I’ll walk a couple of laps” to “Woo Hoo I can’t wait to start running.” It’s important to realize that I am NOT a runner. In fact, I loathe running. So, the fact that I was thinking “Yeah, running seems like fun.” is a testament to how intoxicating enthusiasm is. As we start to speed up from walk to run my smile pulls across my face making my cheeks hurt.
Minutes later, I am remembering why I don’t run. My chest is tight and my ability to breathe is slowly slipping away. “A walking lap won’t hurt.” I think as I start to be slow down. Pulling in deep breaths I continue on the small track. Another lap down. Then the music changes. The first couple notes play and I again feel my excitement building. The students around me are obliviously lapping the crazy teacher. But I just can’t help myself “BYE BYE BYE” I belt along with my childhood heartthrobs NYSNC. I let out a laugh and feel the crazy thought coming back “Running seems like fun.”
Laps continue to get checked off, I get some water and look around to see many of the students have already achieved their goals. Seeing a group of my girls standing around done with their laps I wave them over. “Hey, come walk a couple of laps with me.” They join me and we talk about how fun the Fun Run has been. I’m filled with joy that I’m lucky enough to teach these girls who will walk the track with their teacher. Then again the music changes and I hear the familiar beginnings of Don’t Stop Believing. All my girls and I start singing along and I start to feel my crazy thought build again. Everyone around me is so jubilant that it builds bubbles of joy in my body. When Eye of the Tiger comes on the louder speaker I can’t contain it anymore and I again I find myself running. Letting myself become the tiger. As the song ends, so does the last of my energy. Enthusiasm might be intoxicating but, man do I hate running.