Redesigning What It Means to “Win”

November 5, 2015 by Charlie Hedges − 1 Comments

Hi All,

Today I am featuring a guest post written by one of my all-time favorite friends, Jennifer Bork. Jennifer was my personal assistant in the late 1990’s. She not only handled all the “go-to” tasks, but more important, she was a huge fan, incredible supporter and many times my muse for crazy new ideas.

Please enjoy her post and check her out on Facebook. And a note: the ending story is a killer!

Cross Country Fitness

I coach Cross Country at a small school by my home in Michigan. It’s in a beautiful wooded area with a course built-in, the perfect place to inspire kids to run for the joy of running. We run through rain, heat, humidity, snow, mosquito’s, and the occasional deer herd. We work out muscle cramps, turned ankles, skinned knees and side cramps.

We also work through bigger things, like worries about parents, how parental arguments affect a child’s day, and how trusting in those same parents to work it out lifts a load off their tiny shoulders.

The kids are concerned about things they hear on the news. Sometimes they have trouble sleeping because someone is teasing them at school. Some are not in good nutritional habits and it leads to trouble on the course. Parents get sick, pets die, and friends move away. But, it all comes out on the course.

Running Becomes a Form of Therapy

Running is a way to process feelings in children—a way THROUGH. In our everyday conditioning and strength exercises they push themselves, begin to trust themselves and start believing in the process. Warm up, strength, pacing, sprints, hills, warm down—it all has a purpose and a place and on race day. Like any other practice day, it all has to be done.

After a month or so of intense training these young athletes begin to improve their times, they feel better during the work out but beyond any of that, a brave one or two begin to encourage and coach others.

I am always surprised by the one who starts. It’s usually the runner with no volume or impulse control. It starts with “You got this!” on a hill and progresses to “Keep your head down into the wind” and finally with wild non-word screaming as a teammate crosses the finish line.

But even better than that is the kid who will run beside a struggling runner to “run out” whatever “it” is. Sometimes they talk and sometimes they are just…there. You are never alone on a team.

Redesigning What It Means To Win: A Story

So here’s my son, August: He set a pace for his race yesterday. Our race was in a beautiful park on a classic autumn day. Random preschoolers, senior citizens and athletes of all ages, cheered him on. His favorite fan was a very elderly woman walking the trails with a cane who cheered, “You go, boy!” when he ran by her. He danced a little and he felt good about himself.

He finished the race HUGE—arms in victory pose like he just won the Olympics. He chatted all night about how much fun he had and went to sleep fulfilled.

This is why I do what I do. I love to help everyone feel like they can do it. You can get fit and have fun. You can make THAT change and you can inspire others.

 Oh… you’re probably wondering how my son placed? Dead last. I could not be prouder of his attitude.

 Is the fear of losing or looking bad stopping you from doing something awesome?

 Take a page from the August Bork playbook: Have fun and finish big!!!

That’s Right

Have Fun


Finish Big!


Photo courtesy of brown54486 at

One thought on “Redesigning What It Means to “Win””

  1. I really liked this post. It says something to just have fun and keep it going even if your not first, if you had fun doing it then it was worth doing. I also enjoyed the part about the kids leaning on each other and encouraging each other with a new baby all I can hope for him is that he will have a team that supports him in that way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Next Chapter Podcast
Living a life of meaning Living a life with adventure Living a life with awe