Running with the pack

August 13, 2014

One of the most exciting races at all major track and field events is the men and women 4 x 100 meter relay race.  This is by far my personal favorite event and demonstrates more than just a race.  In my humble opinion it requires each member of the relay team to perform at their personal best, while at the same time be in sync with the other members of the team when the time comes in passing the “baton.”
This race has it all, individual ability, teamwork, speed, knowledge and skill.   You talk about teamwork, coordination, timing, talent, logistics, decision making, being focus, and depending on others to come through in doing their personal best.  And of course, let us not forget having an appreciation and a healthy respect for the competition.  Just because you showed up, dressed to look the part, does not mean “winning” the race is a given.  For some of the most talented teams in history never won on the biggest stages.  The winning teams of these kinds of races are usually the ones who continue to practice doing the small things well, refining their technique, and a winning attitude.
The critical moments of these relays include having a great start out of the block, clean handoffs at each 25 meters, maintaining speed during the three turns, speed in the straight away and a strong kick by the last sprinter (the anchor)… WOW!!! What a performance… and what a thrilling moment… to witness that during the last turn the passing of the baton to the anchors across all lanes… and for a moment you see the pack, side by side and all the while knowing that the pack is only together for a moment and soon one, two or three anchors will emerge from the pack and take the lead down the home stretch towards the finish line.  And only one team is declared the winner.
Just like what it takes to win in the 4 x 100 relays, our urban American community team needs the same amount of attention and support.  If urban America is going to make a comeback, its residents, pastors, faith leaders, churches, grass root leaders, block clubs and associations must be seen as team members in solving problems.  They should not be invited to participate when decisions and game plans have already been made, but are only asked for input, ideas and involvement on what others have perceived already.  No urban American community team can win any race when the most important part of the team is being left out of the picture, always being stuck in the “pack” for a photo op or media session.  A winning team is one that relies on each of its members to use their abilities to make the team a “winner” during every race.  All the urban America community team needs is someone to pass the “baton” and we can take it home.   WOW! Wouldn’t that be great?    What do you think?
Dr. Andrew Calhoun, Ed.D., can be heard each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church of Milwaukee. You can contact him at, twitter #AC53, Facebook 414-571-5015.