The goon on the left is me. The adorable 6-year old on the right is my son, Emmett. The event was our town’s one-mile downtown run. We finished in a blistering 9 minutes, 5 seconds.
I can’t overstate how much I love running with my son. It reminds me of being a kid and running with my own father. We competed together in a bunch of local races, and I fondly recall wanting to make him proud; wanting to run fast enough that he’d notice.
I don’t think Emmett particularly cares about speed. He just wants to go out and hit the pavement, side by side. He can run forever (relatively speaking), and our conversations are long and winding and beautiful. Over running Emmett will tell me about his day at school; about the kids in his class; about bugs and aliens and why he doesn’t care for princess movies. Sometimes we speed up. Sometimes we walk. Generally, we merely keep a nice steady pace, with a hard sprint to our driveway toward the end.
Having played sports, covered sports and now—as a dad—coached sports, I hope running remains Emmett’s main interest. I enjoy Little League, but the obnoxious parents inevitably ruin things. I like tennis, but, well, the boy’s not a huge fan. Running is perfect, in that it’s extraordinarily mental, it’s extraordinarily positive and winning has more to do with beating your expectations than beating someone else. There’s little yelling and almost no trash talk, and afterward everyone gathers together to eat bagels and drink water.
Just the way I like it.
* A side note: The shirt I’m wearing reads GSB Sun. I purchased it for 99 cents in an Oakland thrift store 15 years ago. It had some dried blood on it, only adding to the cool factor.