Mistaken age dashes hope for trophy

Brady C. Mallory

Brady C. Mallory

Does anyone else ever feel like some deity – God, Allah, Buddha or Oprah – is messing with you? That is the best way to describe how I felt a few Saturdays ago when I participated in a 5K run. The handful of people who know me can attest that within the last year I have been a fitness enthusiast and spend many nights at the weight room to lift or jog. However, I was not always the picture of physical perfection.

I am the only son of three children, and for much of my life my father encouraged/forced me to participate in every sport under the sun. The longest sport I was involved with was soccer, which is why I have the muscular thighs of a gladiator, or Madonna.

Before boasting my current muscular physique, I was the kid with braces, really long hair and holding on to a few extra pounds commonly referred to as “baby fat.” I was the kid who tried shooting a basket during the big game, only to have it ricochet from that backboard, thus careening out of control into the face of a teammate. During cross country, I was the kid who threw up right in front of the prettiest, fastest girl on the team after a short half mile warm-up run. In short, I was a huge embarrassment who continually besmirched the legendary reputations of my two obnoxiously athletic sisters, Kara and Jayme.

During my sophomore year of high school, I began to run and lift weights. During my junior year at SDSU, I developed a weight lifting routine that I have been very faithful to, barring late night Ben & Jerry’s trips. It should come to the bewilderment of nobody that I am proud of being faster and stronger and spend 45 minutes a day staring at myself in the mirror flexing.

This year, I was ready for my second 5K and excited to best my previous running times. 1,118 people were all out in the brisk air ready to pulverize their competition in order to feel five minutes of superiority. Or, at least I was. We took our places and waited to spring into action. As the announcer gave us the signal, present surroundings moved in slow motion. With the hard concrete beneath my tightly tied Nike athletic shoes, I noticed the fall leaves hanging delicately from a yonder oak, and despised everyone there for constantly invading my personal space.

The time came and we began our quest to outrun the crazy next to us. I slowly made my way to the group leading the pack, each stride syncopated to music by Bob Dylan and the Dixie Chicks that fueled my entire trek.

In the distance I could see the finish line, as well as a man or woman trotting along in ill-fitted purple hot pants. I was too focused to laugh; I was in it to win it. The last moments, with all of the strength I could muster, I bolted ahead in an enthusiastic sprint.

The results were posted, and I discovered that out of 1,118 people, I had won 72nd with a time of 25:50. That is right, 3.1 miles in 25:50, which was a personal record. A rush of euphoria overtook me when I realized that I had won third in my age group for men. Finally, an athletic trophy that I could give to my dad in hopes that he would consider placing it on the bottom shelf of his award saturated alter to his dogs.

My joy was short-lived when I realized that the fools in charge had listed me as 17, thus placing me in the 15-19 age group. I soon realized that my five o’clock shadow and legs that are hairier than the Geico caveman would expose me for the fraud I had become. I was honest with the announcers and told them to give the trophy to the actual 17-year-old boy who rightfully deserved it.

Friends, you know what honesty got me? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I placed ninth in my real age group. Do you know what ninth place gets? Not a trophy, that’s for sure! Perhaps one day I will win an athletic trophy that will win the love of my father. Until then, I have learned a valuable lesson: never try.