Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rebecca, Reborn

A really cool and new thing happened this week. Well, not exactly "new, new", but it was more than enough to remind us of what we've been missing, a glow that lit up our competitions of months-past with the light of inspiration and admiration. That light had been all but extinguished by the darkness of disappointment and dire days. But there in the night sky Saturday, circling the Cal State Fullerton track 12 times 'round, we saw illumination again.

Rebecca Asplund is back.

I'm convinced that part of the purpose of memory is to give greater meaning to the present day. Rebecca's recent memories of her running have not been pleasant ones. Due to a variety of circumstances, her Fall cross country campaign was one in which she and everyone who loved her wished could have just been waived. It was plain old tough going, there's no other way of describing it. Her heart longed for those easy runs, those glorious races. Such dances with talent had gone away. Far away. From August to November of 2008, her daily dose of reality was hard runs and frustrating races. Knowing how much she loves running and truly wants to pursue its rewards, it was heartbreaking to see her go through what she endured last Fall.

But those painful memories, transposed onto what we see happening now, are making the "now" light up the night sky. Scampering lightly Saturday night in a collegiate 5K in Fullerton, the Rebecca Asplund of yesteryear was reborn. She flitted across the track. Dropping opponents and seconds, the sweat that poured from her was not beading into a pool of disappointment as it had all last season, it splashed off the track just as her spikes sparkled in the stadium lights. Gone were the heavy legs and heavier heart.

Rebecca is reborn.

She's been a tireless worker from the moment she arrived at King. Having given up her childhood pursuit of high-level softball, she dove into this new sport of distance running with a dimpled smile and a can-do attitude. She excelled early and often. She played the part of "perfect teammate" and "competitive warrior" simultaneously and did both with class.

But that hard work wouldn't cut it last Fall. The dead leaves of autumn seemed to illustrate what last season would become: a slow but inevitable fall to earth. A cold winter of wondering blew in.

But with spring comes hope. Despite the lingering doubts that littered her mind, Rebecca did what Rebecca does best ... she got back at it, determined to succeed. Through the early weeks of this year we saw the sprouts of new life, but she and we knew only one thing would prove the rebirth. Race day.

That day came this week. First in a frolicing two races against Chaparral when the smile on her face replaced the furrowed brow of before. Then again on Saturday, with 12 laps and collegiate competitors to go, she burst forth with an incredible race, proving with a wail of glee that perseverence and determination are not dead and the past does not spell the now and that the old can become new again.

Life springs eternal.

What a week. Welcome back, Rebecca!

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca's tale is a good lesson for all of us...that it's never too late! Congrats to her and to all those kids who work their butts off. Discouragement comes easily--and it's nice to know that if we keep at it, good things will come.