The New York City Marathon – a Model for Unity

Yesterday was my first experience seeing part of the New York Marathon and – I almost made a choice to avoid what I thought would be total chaos. My wife and I were invited to spend the weekend at our dear friend’s brownstone on Sutton Place in Manhattan. They had quizzed me what I wanted as a birthday present and my response was “time with you both.” They made my wish come true – beyond my expectation. The celebration included a weekend of feasting, museum hopping, seeing a Broadway show and wonderful laughter.
Sunday, my host Ted asked me if I was going to walk up one block and watch the runners come off the bridge. I expressed my reluctance to being in the midst of large crowds. He responded by saying, “You don’t want to miss this.” He went on to tell me that the only other experience he had ever had to match what I would see is the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. His enthusiasm inspired me and off I went.
It was, in truth, one of the most amazing experiences I have ever witnessed in my entire life. At sporting events there is always rivalry. At movies and theater there are always under-whelmed people sitting like zombies. At restaurants there always appear to be boisterous individuals tooting their own horns or selling someone on an idea. But – at the New York City Marathon, there were masses of people from every walk of life, every occupation, and every religion with only one single, focused purpose in mind – to support and cheer on the runners as they entered over the bridge to Manhattan. That energy was directed in such an overwhelming, loving, non-competitive manner, that it made my heart sing. And, to watch the thousands and thousands of runners coming down the ramp full of pride, energy and sporting massive smiles is a sight I will never forget. It was pure giving in action without – asking anything in return. In fact, the giving of support was the gift that both the cheering crowd and the proud runners received.
It does make me wonder as to why we, as humans, do not, cannot or will not cheer each other on to the best, most loving life possible. All we would have to do is get past fear by uniting in one common purpose – like the New York City Marathon where everyone is a winner. I actually believe it’s possible.