I am a sports nerd. I read all the sports stories in our local newspaper. I follow all the local sports teams. I read the football, wrestling, cross country, swimming, basketball, baseball, golf, track, and soccer stats and line scores EVERY, SINGLE, day. I have been doing this for Y*E*A*R*S!!!!!
I follow my friends' children. I follow teams of friends', who are coaches. I follow my husband's employees' children. I am geeked out on local sports.
Sonoma County and Santa Rosa, in particular, has many talented young sports stars. Over the last 15+ years or so, I have followed a few of these athletes on up through college and beyond.
One of these athletes is a runner named Julia Stamps. I remember reading about her Cross Country races and her injuries and her triumphs. I felt like I knew her. Last year, my husband and I met her husband at a fund raising event and he introduced her to us. It was short and sweet and quite frankly I had had a few cocktails and probably didn't say all the things I wanted to say.
On Saturday night I was fortunate enough to meet her again. It was a far more intimate setting and my husband and I spoke to her at length. We made a real connection when Boyd and I started talking about our Grace and her love of running. When we mentioned Grace's stroke and how she didn't take her first steps till she was over 2 years old, Julia, became quite intense. As she had suffered a dramatic, almost career ending, injury that left her facing a challenge to ever walk again, let alone run.
We exchanged emails and I went back to our table and sent a "Thank you" email immediately. (I told you I was a sports nerd.)
Julia emailed me the next morning saying she wanted to meet Grace and "go on a run with her".
I felt weak in the knees. I showed Grace the email and she immediately pulled "Julia Stamps" up on her iPad and read her bio.
Grace and Julia emailed back and forth on my iPhone a handful of times.
Today, at 3:30, Grace will go on a run with JULIA STAMPS MALLON.
Can you say...."holy moly...that is AWESOME!!!!"? Well I can!!!!!
Julia is a supporter of GOTR and Grace is currently in GOTR.
My Grace is amazing. My Grace has triumphed over her stroke and has an uncanny gift for running. the little hitch in her stride makes her look like a champion. She has these powerfully elegant legs and a beautiful gait. She has a smile when she runs that would melt your heart. It certainly melts mine.
I am so excited for Grace to have this opportunity. Grace proudly supports her sporty sister, Lea, in all 3 of Lea's sports. Grace is the "sister on the sidelines" at every event.
Today my Grace gets to be the one being watched. Today Grace gets to shine a bit in her own right.
This may turn out to be just a blip on Grace's radar in her future running life. Maybe she will make a connection with Julia that will prove to be long term and limitless. I do not know. What I do know is this feels like a divine intervention. This feels like an opportunity that may be just at the right time for my Grace.
We will show up at 3:30 today, with running shoes on and a smile. Grace will take a run at and with greatness.
I will watch and admire.
It is all about taking chances. Little ones and big ones.
For Grace, this is just the beginning.
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