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November 11, 2012

They say that the best things in life don’t come easy and I wholeheartedly agree, but there’s a lot more subjectivity to that statement than meets the eye. When I look at where I am today, I like to think that I busted my ass to get here. I ran every day, I (usually) studied hard, and I did the little things that we so often hear people preach about. So sure, I worked pretty hard. I also grew up in a middle class suburban home 20 miles North of Austin in one of the safer neighborhoods the state has to offer. I held a couple of odd jobs, but it was because I was bored, not because I had to; I drove myself to school every morning in a car that I had access to 24/7; I was raised by two extremely supportive parents who sacrificed more than I care to imagine so that I could follow my folly, so to speak. Money wasn’t exactly growing on the bushes outside, but it was never an issue. I got new shoes when I needed them, and I was never hungry. Well, I was always hungry, but it wasn’t due to lack of food. Everything was pretty much a guarantee.

I’m generally a very thankful person for everything that I had been allowed thus far in life, but in the past few weeks I’ve really reached a new level of thankfulness. In early September of this year, I, along with Chris, Nicole, and Mary, started coaching the Marathon High program at Eastside Memorial High School. In case you aren’t familiar with the school, here are just a few things to keep in mind: Of the roughly 400 students in the school, 90% are classed as “Economically disadvantaged,” and over 20% are classified as having “Limited English Proficiency.” We knew most of this before our first day out coaching, but my initial impressions were a far cry from what I’ve experienced thus far. Having heard so much about how disadvantaged these kids were, I sort of expected to show up to find a group of kids who were visibly troubled and down on their luck; defeated by life, if you will. What I found were a group of kids who have a better outlook on life than anybody would ever give them credit for; who show up every day and give it 110% no matter what. I found a group of kids who make it work regardless of their hardships or difficulties. They don’t have the same guarantees that the rest of us do, like new running shoes or reliable transportation, but they show up and bust their asses, and then after catching their breaths, they walk up and ask if there’s time to run a little bit further.

Since joining Rogue I have met some very special people, but nobody quite like these kids. They are the poster kids of what Rogue truly stands for: Somebody who gets out there every day, no matter what the weather, or the economy, or their peers tell them. Somebody who wakes up two hours before anybody else because in lieu of having their own car they have to catch a city bus to make the long run. Somebody who isn’t guaranteed anything, but still commits to give everything. So here I sit, thinking back on what it took for me to get here today, but now I’m questioning all those times that I thought I had it tough. All the times I didn’t really like what we were having for dinner. All the times I got annoyed when my car was in the shop for longer than a day or two. I wish I could take all that back, but I can’t. What I can do is suck it up and push a little harder and a little further every single time I think I have it rough, because at the end of the day I really don’t. I would encourage you to do the same. These kids work just as hard, day in and day out, as anybody I know, the only difference being that they really don’t have the means. So many of the kids show up in old, battered shoes that have no business being anywhere other than a dump, but they do their run anyway. You would be amazed how such a little amount of generosity can go so far in helping these kids achieve their dream.

If you haven’t looked much into the program, here’s a little more information about it…


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