Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Underdog

You might be familiar with the essay series This I Believe. For a family reunion last year, each family member was encouraged to write an essay for our own family version of the series. The essays were compiled and each family got a hard copy "book" of all the essays. It was a fun way to get to know each other a little better. 

I ended up submitting my essay, The Underdog, to the website and recently got notified that it had been approved and included. I asked Mandy if she had any pictures of me pushing the kids in swings, and randomly enough she had this video from about 1 year before I wrote the essay.

As posted on This I Believe.

“Will you push me on the swing, Dad?”
“Sure”. I stand behind the swing, pushing casually.
“Dad, do an UNDERDOG!”
At this point I have a decision to make. I’m comfortable where I’m at. Standing and pushing the swing is easy and relaxing, and it certainly counts as quality parenting time. An Underdog is another story. It takes oomph. It’s a commitment. Once I start an Underdog, I’m all in, no backing out.
Usually, hopefully, I’m up to the invitation. Grab swing with both hands, run fast, push swing up over head, duck to avoid bare feet. Run straight for a bit to avoid the other swinging kid. Circle and repeat. For me, it took no more time than a regular push. For my child, it turned an enjoyable swing into a gravity-defying, touch-the-leaves-with-your-toes ride.
I’ve learned something from Underdogs. I can accomplish most things in life to a satisfactory level of quality with regular effort. There’s nothing particularly wrong with regular effort. Regular effort still gives hugs, tells bedtime stories, and pushes swings. However, with extra effort, the satisfactory becomes the exhilarating. Hugs become tackles. Bedtime stories become adventures. Swing pushing becomes Underdogs.
I don’t always do it, but I know I should. But when I do, its effort well spent. The results speak for themselves.
“Dad, do another UNDERDOG!”
I believe in the Underdog.

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  1. I remember Underdogs, oh I remember them well. I'm glad you believe in them, and I'm glad you have this video footage of your kids reaping the benefits of it.

  2. That's a great essay! Underdogs are the BEST.

  3. Victory to the underdog! And cheers to the dad who loves his kids, pushes them in swings, and understands the need for simple things like underdogs!


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