Yesterday was my daughter’s first cross country meet of the season. The coach typically sends home a “letter” with the kids the day before a meet. I use the term “letter” lightly because there aren’t a lot of complete sentences on this piece of paper; nor is there much punctuation. However, all the important things we need to know about the meet are indeed on the “letter” so I’m not complaining.
Reading it makes me laugh out loud sometimes. Partly because I can hear the coach’s voice saying some of these things and I know exactly what tone he is using to get through to these middle school kids: “meet at the front of the school – be fast it’s not easy to get there.” And I can tell when his tone changes to the mild frustration of overbearing parents: “anticipated schedule (this can change).”
He also includes a list of rules (he just uses the header behavior but they are rules) and as I read his rules, in his funny little tone, I decided these aren’t bad rules for life:
1. Don’t run around
He means literally of course but in life it’s a good thing to remember. When you need to get something done and you’re feeling hectic – slow down and focus.
2. Don’t do stupid things
This is my favorite. He gives examples (wrestling, throwing things, screaming). I agree those are somewhat stupid things to do. However, this rule needs no examples. Don’t do stupid things is a simple, clear rule and a damn good rule to live by. If you’re doing something it should have purpose and meaning – or at the very least – it shouldn’t be stupid.
3. Cheer for your teammates
Yes! I like hearing people cheer for me while I’m running so I certainly get this rule in relation to a cross country meet. But in life, isn’t it nice to be cheered on too? The support of your family; the uplifting words of a friend; the kind remark from a stranger… all these make a difference in your day. We should all look for opportunities to cheer each other on.
4. It always feels good to hear your name
Again, very true on race day – it’s a nice boost to have someone tell me specifically that I’m doing well or looking good (even if I’m not). It’s true in life too. It’s nice not to be a stranger. It’s nice to know you belong. I am not very good at remembering people’s names but I try hard because it’s better to be able to say “Hello, Sarah” Instead of just “oh, Hi.” When you use a person’s name you instantly make the conversation personal and meaningful – even if you are just saying hello.
Of course there are other good rules to live by: be on time; say please and thank you; always have peanut m&m’s on hand… got anything to add?