During one of my frequent chats with my mom, she told me an interesting story about my brother and a track and field event at school.
My youngest brother is 15 years old and has always been fairly athletic. Recently, he participated in a triathlon. I believe that every kid at school was required to participate, and my brother was designated the swimmer (he swims like a fish). He swam his leg of the race and then the cyclist took over. By the time the race had wound down to the runners, my brother noticed that one of the runners was leisurely strolling down the race track. It was an overweight boy that was usually the brunt of adolescent name-calling and general bullying. He had tried to run as far as he could, but was exhausted and had taken to walking down the track.
My brother, bless his heart, took off running down to the track, a group of his friends close at his heels. They didn’t know what he was doing, but they followed anyway. He walked alongside the “runner” and talked with him, telling him that he was doing great, and when they got to a certain point on the track they were going to run and finish the race together.
As he was talking, more and more kids began to gather around the young man running the race. When they reached the designated spot on the track, they started running. By the time they crossed the finish line, the entire class was running down the track with the boy, cheering him on. The teachers all had tears in their eyes as everybody congratulated the runner and cheered for him.
People need leaders. They need someone to take charge and lead the way. Some people are natural leaders, like my brother. I feel humbled when I think of his sportsmanship and team building personality. As someone who is naturally gifted at leading others, he could have chosen to make the situation horrible and humiliating for his teammate. Instead he chose to create an experience that the people in his little town will remember for a long time to come.