I've titled this Proud Father, but it might also be styled as Lessons for Life. It is about my second oldest son, and you will understand the title as the story unfolds.
Travis entered the State track meet recovering from a 2-week bronchial infection that nearly cost him his position in the District competition the week before. In the 2-mile run the day before, at Baylor University, an all out effort, personal best time ever and new school record of 10:31, netted him only 3rd place.
Following an exhausting run on Friday, Travis' prospects for Saturday's 1-mile race were doubtful, but the coach had encouraged him to at least try to bring in a fourth of fifth place for the sake of the team points.
Travis was running against young men, some of which had not been beaten all year. After the first, lap he was dead last. But halfway through the second lap something happened. His pace quickened, and he began to overtake one, then another, and another, until he passed them all! His sister, Christie, said she saw him smile when he pulled into the lead.
Halfway through he first turn of the third lap he was more than 30 yards ahead of the fastest competitor. A picture taken at that point by a friend, caught him in mid air, about six inches off the ground. And although you can see well back into the turn, there is no one there but the crowd looking further back at an unseen pack that was wondering just how soon would he falter, but none believing he could keep it up.
But Travis wasn't satisfied to simply be in the lead. He pushed even harder and the distance grew - crossing the finish line with a new school record of 4:41, he took the Gold.
Life itself is an endurance run and in watching Travis, I think I have seen several of life's truths demonstrated many times:
1) Though many are similar, no two people are exactly alike, and to succeed you must run the race or event best suited to your God given talents and abilities;
2) Those who run without restraint in the beginning, always finish last.
3) Hardship is a poor excuse for failure, for you can always find one who has overcome far worse to accomplish much more;
4) The time of your greatest difficulty or trial, may be your greatest opportunity for success;
5) Success in life takes more than just being willing to show up for the race. You have to have eyes to see beyond the first turn, and to have the heart and mind, in Travis' words, to "Finish strong."