Being Ben Comen

Ben Comen was always welcome to be a member of any sport-as long as he accepted the position of ball boy or water boy- that is until Coach Chuck Parker welcomed him with open arms to be a member of Hanna High School’s cross-country team. Ben wasn’t the most talented nor the fastest runner- as a matter of fact, he comes in dead last in nearly every race. What others run in 21 minutes, Ben takes twice as long. The irony is when many of the other runners have finished their grueling 3.1-mile run; they hump back to run along side of Ben until he finishes his race. Why in the world would any team keep the worst runner? Because Ben has what few do.  Ben has heart. Ben Comen suffers from Cerebral Palsy- a disease that doesn’t interfere with his intelligence, but wreaks havoc on the muscles in his body. His left arm is permanently fixed as if he is leaning on a table; his unbending left leg awkwardly swings forward as he goes lumbering through the uneven terrain. Ben’s feet can only skim the terrain and because his muscles do not signal his brain fast enough, even a small twig can cause Ben to fall, smacking the earth with a thud-his head usually the first to land. Bloodied and battered Ben goes through the cumbersome process of hoisting himself up-his tattered body covered in grime, dirt, and grass mixed with perspiration. Despite his fatigue, fear, and injuries, Ben always gets up. 

How does a young man run a race that he cannot win? The simple answer is Ben Comen is not trying to beat others; Ben Comen is trying to beat himself; the only thing he is trying to beat is his own time. What if we did the same thing? What if instead of measuring ourselves against the competition, we measure ourselves against ourselves? What if we tried to beat our own time; what if we tried to exceed our own goals; what if we realize the only person that is standing in the way of our future is ourselves. Are you tough enough to finish your own race?

Do you have the heart to hoist yourself out of your own ashes? There are plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t finish the race-Lord knows Ben has plenty of them. 

Is it that you can’t or you won’t?  

You only lose the race you never finish. Don’t ever give up…Finish Strong.

Click for a short video of Ben Comen http://youtu.be/FGeHXP24E0E

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