And then one summer morning we went to Long Beach and raced again. It was already warm and the sand was just starting to get hot and Mom and Caroline had settled into chairs to relax, listen to music and admire the surf. Naturally I invited you to a sprinting contest and you accepted.
Now, maybe it’s just my imagination operating in retrospect, but I recall a different look on your face. Your face suggested you knew something nobody else knew.
The time for headstarts was long gone by now. The starting line was the same for both of us. We agreed on a finish line maybe 100 yards down the beach, near the breakers, where some rope lay. And as Mom and Caroline watched, I called the start and off we went.
We were neck and neck right away, and I tried to kick into a higher gear, but then you slowly pulled away, a foot ahead now, then two feet, then more. You beat me and beat me clean.
I looked at you with a smile and you smiled back and I hugged you. It was one of my happiest moments ever. Nature had taken its course, the younger generation eclipsing the older, the son surpassing the father, just as it should be, just as it’s meant to be. You were now the stronger and faster.
And it meant so much more than just running fast. It made me think you could do better than I in other respects, too. You would be smarter, too, and happier, and make more money, and be more fulfilled.
Of course we kept racing each other after that, even though the whole dynamic, our expectations, had changed. You were going to win now. We both knew that. And it made it more fun for both of us. And every year you beat me by a wider margin, more – I’m happy to say—because you got so much faster than because I got slower.
But even now I’m pretty fast and still you kill me out there. It’s never even close and I have no prayer of ever winning again. And that’s exactly as it should be. You’re off and running, leaving me in the dust.
Question of the day: Do you ever compete against your kids?