Saturday, February 22, 2014


Today, I ran 3 miles alone and then joined a friend for another 9.1  That brings me up to 300.1 on the year.  On my virtual pilgrimage, it puts me just west of Barnesville, Ohio on Ohio Route 147.  The Catholic church there is Assumption Church and St. Mary's parish.  Clearly, St. Mary is a theme around the world.  And kind of neat because the final destination of my pilgrimage is a church named after the Blessed Mother.   

In the 12.1 miles that I ran in total today, I was thinking about how crazy it is to run outside in such weather.  In particular, there was still black ice on the ground this morning.  That made it a much different run than most of the runs I've done with my most frequent Saturday running partner over the past three years. But we had not run together since mid-December, so it actually made for good conversation about life and families and avoiding injury from excessive strain.  It also seemed like we ran a lot more uphill than down although that is physically impossible--we just ran along the steep sections of Eastridge, Charmuth, Vista, and Cinder.  

Later in the day, I took my nine year old to assessments for travel lacrosse in the spring.  Today's work was indoors.  This is the second time I've been in an indoor sports space other than an ice rink recently.  And it got me thinking--we don't really have sports seasonality any more.

Now, I grew up first playing basketball.  Yes, the most common time for a basketball season was winter.  And of course there were summer leagues.  And you can play any time of year, but there was a "most common time of year".  Seasonality.

Baseball was mostly played in the spring when I grew up (at least at the little league level).  Some in summer.  Not so much in fall.

Soccer as an interscholastic sport--fall.

And not that a person couldn't participate at other times of year, but there was a definite sense of when matched up with professional sports and when leagues played.

Even for running--cross country in the fall, track with indoor competition in the winter, outdoor competition in the spring when I was in high school.  Although both then and now the goal was to run outside as much as possible all year long.

Perhaps that sense of running at any time was where the idea of seasonality began to drift away.

My son's lacrosse assessments in a building that was clearly once some type of warehouse reminded me of the fact that these days you can find lacrosse, or field hockey (what another space was being used for), or soccer, ultimate frisbee (which followed lacrosse in the space) at almost any time of year.

Is that a bad thing?  No.  Of course not.  It gives people who like one sport a chance to continue and it puts old warehouses to good use.  There is a demand.

But there is something to be said for variety.  (Even with fruit, we can eat the same fruit and vegetables almost year round these days. Is that good?)  

And there is something to be said for the sense of order that it gives.  Otherwise one season is like the next.  And it is possible to lose the sense of where one season begins and another ends.  Marking time.  Delineating.

Of course, even with running all year long, races give me a sense of season.  So I can mark time.  There are spring races.  There are a few summer events--although I don't care for summer racing.  And there are fall races.  Time to train for longer races.  And time to run a series of 5K's in succession to see how I can do.

So, perhaps I just have to be creative with how I think of seasonality to return my sense of the meaningful passage of time.

It is interesting to think about just how I like to run things that are not always around the track or on a treadmill or out and back courses; I like to vary my running.  It helps me.  And so too does varying the running over time in ways that help me to mark time.  To mark other major events in my life.  And to have a framework around which to build my experience and my memories.  A framework of time for building up spirituality and family and interpersonal relationships.  

There is a season for everything. 

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