The Boy Who Chased Me

Dear Michael,

Ever since you could run, we’ve raced each other. I always gave you a headstart and pretended to keep it close but then of course I always won. I saw little point in ever letting you win because

I wanted you to have an incentive to try harder.

We would race wherever we went, whether parks or playgrounds or backyards or the beach. I gave you as much of a headstart as I felt sure I could make up, maybe 10 yards or 20 or more.
The only satisfaction I got from these races was the idea that I might be fueling you with a competitive spirit. At no point did I ever expect you to feel shamed or belittled.

And to your credit, you always agreed to race me, even though you knew you would always lose, and tried your best, too.

Then, of course, you got older. You went from being eight, when I could literally run circles around you, to, say, 12 or 13 or 14. You were taller and stronger and faster. I gave you less of a headstart now, and had to run a little harder, and our finishes kept getting closer.

We kept racing all over, at least a few times a year, and I kept beating you, even as you hit 15 and 16 and 17, and I reached 50. All that time, even though I took some pride in being pretty fast for my age, I was rooting for you to win.

It was getting to be that time.

P.S. – Part 2 will appear tomorrow.

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