There is a Proverb quote that goes something like: "Pride and poverty don't get along, but often live together." Very poignant stuff and also something that I found to be true this last week.
Everything started so innocently as it most often does. I was sitting with a couple of co-workers, typing up track results, when the topic of how fast we could or couldn't run came up. I simply stated that one of my co-workers, who I will call Chris for the sake of giving him a name, couldn't run a 10-minute mile at the Sikeston track.
Chris immediately responded that he could run a mile in 10 minutes without any problem. I was willing to let it go. I neither cared nor desired to take the conversation any further. Enter fellow co-worker, who I will call Matt for the sake of giving him a name. Matt responded with: "I bet you 50 bucks you can't run a mile in under 10 minutes." And we were off.
It is amazing how things snowball. Instead of laughing off the bet as a joke, Chris said "you're on" in a nano-second. I became the timing judge and a date was set for three days later. All of this happened in about five seconds and before you knew it Chris had a major problem.
Let's just say that Chris does not resemble one of those runners from Kenya who always win all of those marathons. And in the sports department our version of exercise is limited to the occasional basketball game at the Y, if you can even describe it as basketball.
But Chris talked a good game and there seemed to be 50/50 odds on whether he could make it or not. For example, my wife said she could speed walk a mile in 10 minutes (a bet that will be made soon) and another mentioned something of using a sun dial.
After much talk the day finally arrived. It was a nice day, not too hot but a little on the windy side. I of course showed up to time the event while Matt was there with a check. Who brings a check to a bet, I don't know, but I digress. And then there was a fellow co-worker, who I will call Josh for the sake of giving him a name. Josh and his son were there to document the event with their camera.
Chris was ready. He stretched and had that determined (or constipated) look as he stepped to the starting line. I called out: "On your mark... Get set... Go!" And Chris was off to the shutter clicks of a Canon digital camera much like the start to the mile race at the Olympics.
He looked good from the start. Like a gazelle out of the zoo, Chris rounded the first corner into the straightaway with the wind at his back. He was picking his little Barney Rubble legs up and putting them down as he made the halfway point of the first lap and turned the corner into the headwind.
Now Chris might tell you it was a hurricane-like gust headwind in the final straightaway, but in reality it was only about 25-mph. Still a significant breeze to run into and Chris began to slow. Still he finished his first lap in under two minutes. Definitely on pace and Matt began to squirm in his chair.
As Chris ran his second lap his Barney Rubble legs weren't moving so fast and his gazelle like speed turned into the pace an old dog runs to his food. Still, as Chris finished his second lap, the halfway point, he was under five minutes. Unfortunately for Chris he didn't look good.
Face red, Chris looked like the turtle trying to outwit the hare. Josh, Matt and myself looked at each other at this point and knew it wasn't going to happen. But Chris is a tough one and was not about to quit. As he turned into the final straightaway of his third lap, the headwind hit him and it was over.
At the other end of the track we could hear his breathing and then all of a sudden, down he went. Now it is all fun and money until somebody dies trying to win a bet.
As I ran down to my friend and co-worker laying on the track something popped into my head: "What if we have to do CPR?" I mean I was good for the compressions, but who was going to give the breaths? The list of people I will give breaths to is pretty-much limited to Alyssa Milano and maybe my wife.
Fortunately as we reached Chris we were greeted with an obscenity, letting us know that he was alive and also giving in. It was a gallant effort and for the next 30 minutes as we sat with him to make sure he wasn't going to die I thought about pride.
Yes Chris lived for me to tell the tale, only choking a little bit on his pride and fortunately nobody has ever died from that. Of course he also lost 50 dollars, just going to show you that pride and poverty do often live together.