The Mop Rule

Someone in the last couple of days asked why I've been writing about cross country and track when I won't make any money at it. At least with the books (hint: look in the sidebar-they make wonderful gifts to runners!), I have a chance to make a peso or two.

There are two answers, either completely sufficient.

First, I enjoy the heck out of it. Talking to Rick Riley is about the third biggest highlight of my year on the writing front. I don't think it's hero worship, just a recognition of the man. He did things on the track I will never do, most of us will never do.

He's also been around the sport long enough to appreciate how much things have changed - and how little, at the same time. The response from all the readers has been terrific.

The second reason involves the mop rule and is connected to the biggest highlight of my year on the running front. Nope, that highlight wasn't having the book mentioned in Running Times.

It was having a mom stop me on the way to the district meet to tell me how much her son appreciated what I had noticed and wrote about on the blog. If that doesn't humble you . . .

Here's a kid, a good kid, who's also a good athlete. And the only mention that he got was on my blog. I keep apologizing to the kids that they deserve better; a better chronicler, a better website, more meets covered.

What they have is me, for right now, though I'm hoping to grow things.

Because of the mop rule.

Never heard of it? You might have a different name for it but it's a major reason I've been married for better than three decades. The rule is simple. You can't go to another person and say, "Hey, the floor needs mopping."

If it needs mopping, we both know where the mop is. We get off our duffs and we do it. We don't nag the other person to fix our peeves.

The mop rule is why I started writing books for runners. Nobody else was and I thought we deserved books that reflected well on our community.

And when I realized that these kids work darned hard for so little recognition of what they are accomplishing. I mean that about all of them, not just the Lucy Egglestons and Maddie Wards, the Hunter Olsens and Chandler Tiegens, but all the ones that step to the line and run every race with all the guts they have.

Well . . .It's all very well to say it should be done, somebody ought to write the articles. The real question is, do you care enough to actually do it yourself?

Do you care enough to do it yourself.

That's the mop rule.