I have been reading a lot of books about running lately. More exactly, about runners, many, inspiring runners. The most recently that I have I finished reading about is Louie Zamperini. Zamperini’s story is a magical journey that travels well beyond the sport and the enjoyment of running it is a story about the resilience of human spirit and the will to survive. And more importantly, the ability to change one’s way of thinking and the way they view the world and the world views them.
Zamperini’s story starts as a simple story of a delinquent kid who was saved from a life of trouble after being redirected by his brother. Zamperini made the Olympic in 1936 and was looking forward to making the team again in 1940 before the Olympics were cancelled. After being drafted into World War II, Zamperini would never run competitively again.
And after the tragedies he suffered during the War, Zamperini came back and could never find the joy he once found in running. He eventually found his peace elsewhere but not initially in running. To me that is the key point, running can lead to joy, can be an escape for most of us. But without outside things, some other form of happiness, we cannot just find joy in running.
Zamperini eventually found his joy through his Christian faith. And as he found his happiness through faith in God, he found his happiness in helping others. Through starting a Victory camp for troubled boys, to speaking of his hardships as a POW in Japan, to working at a Seniors Center, and other endeavours. Zamperini eventually even carried the Olympic torch through the village in which he was a POW.
For me, my joy comes from teaching, both in and outside of the classroom. I was so ecstatic to be offered my first teaching contract this week. With that comes to opportunity to continue coaching basketball at some level. So whatever you do, find your joy, but do not let your only joy come from running. For if you only joy comes from one activity, then when it is gone, you will be gone: physically and mentally.