Tag Archives: Faith

Every Day Is Today

I miss teaching.
Especially on days like today.

But, if I was… this what I would say:

You don’t remember. That’s okay. You were a baby. Maybe you were not even born yet. It doesn’t matter.

I’m not going to tell you stories about the day. You’ll get those from someone else, and from TV, the radio and the newspapers. You don’t listen to the radio, do you?  You should. And you should read newspapers too.

Anyway…

I just want you to walk a little softer today. Can you do that? And talk a little more. Especially to people you don’t normally talk to. Today isn’t a normal day after all.

And look both ways. People will come at you from the left and the right. Offer them a smile. It helps sometimes and if it doesn’t help… you will be smiling and that’s a good thing. We need more smiling today.

Less shouting please. No shouting actually. Open a few more doors. Don’t honk your horn either. Yield. Slow down for that yellow light today. Listen to some music.

Give out some hugs. Remember, you may even get one back when you do. That’s a pretty good deal.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Some words are more than just words. Love is one of those words.

I know you don’t remember that day 16 years ago. But you can remember that some people will never forget.

Today is September 11th for you and I and everyone else. But for some people yesterday was September 11 and tomorrow will be September 11th all over again. Every day is 9/11 for some people.

Remember that.

Thanks for listening.

The rest of class is yours.

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When Running Away is the Bravest Thing To Do

I was at NXN – the Nike Cross Country National Championships – with my team.
It was the night before the race.
I saw Joan Benoit Samuelson coming down the stairs.
I thought “I need to make my move. Screw all these kids. They can get in line behind me.”
I broke into a jog.
I’m a firm believer in thanking the people who inspired me. And, shaking their hand.
“Hi, I’m Chris Bennett. I made a video of you.”
My slow run combined with the weird video comment may have set off some internal alarm bells with JBS.
I thought, “at best I’m creepy and at worst I can expect a restraining order delivered to me before the race tomorrow.”
Luckily, JBS is used to people coming up to her and saying or trying to say thank you.
Unfazed, shook my hand and asked my name again
(Probably for the detective she would be talking to later I thought)
“You made The First Gold, right?”
She’d seen the video I made!
(I made videos on YouTube for my HS athletes hoping they would become fans of the sport.)
“Yes. That one! It’s about your ’84 Olympics…Gold Medal…the Marathon…in LA.”
Speaking coherently was becoming a problem.
“Thank you for making that.”
I was losing consciousness but I knew I had something to do before I did.
One of my heroes just said “thank you” to me.
But I was the one who was supposed to say thank you!
OK, rewind…Joan Benoit Samuelson was my first running hero.
And it wasn’t because she did anything superhuman.
I’m not that inspired by the idea of “superhuman”.
I’m inspired by super humans.
JBS was my hero because she took the lead 4 miles into that ’84 Olympic Marathon.
And no one went with her. 22 miles running alone.
That had to be terrifying.
And at 7 years old there’s a lot about the world that can be terrifying.
But she ran brave.
Watching her race made me realize that it’s the scary stuff that gives us a chance to be brave.
Fast forward…
I stayed conscious and I said what I needed to.
Thank You.
I was speaking for the runner and coach I had become and for that 7 year old boy I was.
She walked away.
I walked back to my team.
They had a race to run tomorrow and were probably nervous.
And I wanted to tell them a story about running brave.

Suckcess 

Go ahead and tell me how terrible you are. Tell me that you suck at running. And don’t forget to let me know that you are in such awful shape. You’ll say that it’s been so long since you were fit. You’re not even sure why you decided to show up, right?

You don’t believe you’ll be able to finish whatever it is I have planned. You’re not a runner. You suck. I know. I know all of this. 

Because you tell me. And someone else tells me the same thing about themselves…almost everyday. I hear it all the time. You’re not alone. In fact, there are more people like you than not.

And if you’re worried I won’t take you seriously when you say these things… don’t be. If you believe you suck I have no other option than to believe you. Because this, the Athlete and Coach relationship, is first and foremost a relationship built on trust. 

So, I trust you. Now you trust me.

There is no difference between you and any other runner. Because all of us runners run to get better. Sure, how we each define “better” is personal. But we all share the hope at the start of our runs that we will end it somehow better. 

Better could be faster. Stronger. Maybe longer. Could mean less stress. More joy. First run. Second Run. Next Run. Just a little better. 

So you can take me aside and repeat, again, that you suck at running. And again, I will tell you that I believe you. 

Then I will tell you what the goal of today’s run is and that you should remember it. Because it will never change. 

The goal is simply to get better. Or, if it makes more sense to you…suck less.

Now, let’s run. 

Worst Runs Ever

What was my worst run ever?
I get that question all the time.
And it’s funny because the sensible companion question – what was your best run ever – doesn’t get asked very often.
Which is probably a good thing because I don’t have a single answer.
But I also don’t have an answer for the worst run ever question either.
Don’t get me wrong.
I have more than enough answers…a whole collection of worst runs.
I just don’t have ONE worst run ever.
Which means I don’t have an answer.
I’ve had runs in the sun without water and runs in the snow that ended up with me on my butt.
I’ve had runs when my ego was fit as hell but I was out of shape – those never end well.
And I’ve had runs where I didn’t believe I could do what I was so obviously already doing.
I did runs by myself when I needed to be anything but alone.
And I had runs with the group when I needed those miles all to myself.
I’ve had runs started too close to an extraordinary meal.
And I had runs not started far enough away from a very suspect meal.
Cramps. Twisted ankles. Tired. Stressed. Wrong turns.
I’ve had the halfway out and halfway home bathroom emergency…without a bathroom run.
All Worst Runs Ever.
But, I also know that I learned about myself, life, running (and even what Poison Ivy can do to your bathing suit area if you are not careful) on those terrible runs.
And if I had not started those runs I wouldn’t have learned the most important lesson of all: that I can get through them.
Every run has a purpose.
Even all those worst ones.

Meet Cancer Day

Many of us here in Beaverton, Oregon are going to get together on February 3rd. Meet Cancer Day. We’ll gather at the start of the 2.4k trail that sits peacefully across the street from campus. 
The wooded loop is named after the late Geoff Hollister. Geoff’s birthday is also February 3rd. That’s Geoff there in the picture talking to Steve Prefontaine.
The following day, February 4th, is World Cancer Day. This schedule on the calendar is entirely fitting. Geoff, Nike employee #3, passed away in 2012 after battling colon cancer. 

We’ll gather, we’ll welcome each other, and yes we will run. 

We all share that great bond with Geoff; running. It is one of the ways we know we can honor his life. It is how we can celebrate our own.

Most of us have already met cancer. The introduction could have been made through a loved one or friend. Many of us have or will meet cancer when we look in the mirror. 

Meet Cancer Day was begun in 2012 at Nike after the death of Geoff Hollister. This day is about supporting one another and reminding both our family, friends, colleagues and ourselves that we are not alone when we meet cancer. And we will not be alone when we stand up to cancer, fight cancer and yes, someday, beat cancer. 

So, this Friday morning we will gather on Hollister Trail. Running, an action married with purpose, is how we will begin Meet Cancer Day at Nike. 

We will run to celebrate Geoff, his wife Wendy and their family. We will run to celebrate those we know and those we don’t know that have been touched by cancer. We will meet cancer with each other and without fear. We will meet cancer on our terms.

And we will run right at it. Together. That’s what Geoff would have wanted us to do because that is how Geoff met cancer.

“It’s not about how long you live but how you contribute.
It’s about doing your best and doing the right thing.

It’s about recovering from your mistakes and not giving up.

It’s about the baton pass to the new generation.

It’s about the realization that you cannot go it alone…it takes a team.”

-Geoff Hollister as it reads on sign at start of Hollister Trail

Cheers,

Coach Bennett

Every Run Has A Purpose

My older brother died 10 years ago tonight. He didn’t run. He played baseball. I ran. I understood baseball. He didn’t understand running. And he’d make fun of it. That’s what older brothers do. When they care about you they make fun of you. 

And he made fun of my running endlessly. He laughed about the seeming mindlessness of it and the idiocy of doing lap after lap and mile after mile. He would say how utterly boring it was to watch Track meets. Watching dudes just run in a circle? Seriously?

But he showed up for my races. And he stood and cheered like he saw a Grand Slam every time I took a starting line. I always heard him when he came. I always knew he was there. And he always congratulated me and asked me about the other kids in the race and why I made my move when I did. Then he made fun of me. 
But I knew he was trying as hard as he could to understand. And I was running as hard as I could hoping he would. 

I’m not sure if he ever really understood why I ran – even at the end. But I know he’s still watching. And I’m still running. We’re both still trying. That’s a lesson I learned from my older brother. 

Never stop trying. 

Ever. 

I’ll be thinking of that on my run. Tonight.

Some Years Are Longer Than Others

Has it been a tough year for you?
It’s OK to admit it.
I’ll go first.
It’s probably the hardest one I’ve had.
I’ve had worse moments, dark ones, in different years.
But day in and day out?
2015.
It’s been a tough year.
And now it’s getting ready to end.
I know it’s just the flip of a piece of paper, a change in the name or the number but I can’t help but look forward to January – to 2016.
But, first I have to say thank you.
Thank you to 2015.
Thank you for making me feel like I was in a race where I was always behind, never in control, and grinding from the gun.
Thank you for waking me up almost every day stressed and tired and tucking me in every night confused and exhausted.
Thank you for making me question myself.
Doubt myself.
Curse myself.
Thank you for beating the crap out of me.
I didn’t know that I could get through it.
I didn’t know I could take it.
I didn’t know I could keep going.
But I did.
It’s been a tough year.
But I learned I was tougher.
So goodbye 2015.
Because it’s time to leave you behind and go a few miles with 2016.
Next year though, I’m taking the pace.
Next year I’m leading.
I’m going to make it so it’s a pure guts race.
And if it is…I now know I’m the only one who can win it.
For that I say thank you 2015.