I have watched this one particular scene in Disney's Secretariat a thousand times. Each time, I giggle with excitement and pure joy. A good feeling just rushes over me. The horses are racing at Belmont, and Secretariat is running for the Triple Crown. As he makes the turn for home the music in the background explodes! You do want to jump from your couch and cheer the unbelievable athlete of a horse to victory even though history has proven that victory is the outcome. Sport's writers have written that Secretariat's road to the Triple Crown is still one of the greatest moments in sports history. Oh! Happy Day is the song that blasts as the horse and rider make the final turn for home in the movie. http://youtu.be/kx533GIKhZU. I encourage you to watch the clip. It will move you!!
Our church service closed on Sunday with a spin off version of Oh! Happy Day. Of course, it reminded me of this favorite movie clip. It also reminded me of mile eight on the KDF mini route I ran in the Spring. As we made our way around the in field at Churchill Downs it was the original version of Oh! Happy Day playing through my ear buds. A goal reached! An item crossed off the bucket list!!
Sunday's service also taught me something new about something else familiar to me. The pastor spoke on Hebrews 12. My first blog post shared this scripture: "... let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. The ... that I omitted from my first post was the focus of this passage for our pastor. It reads "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us....". He talked about what he imagined as he read about being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. His mental image was that of a runner running in a great arena or stadium as spectators looked on. In all honesty, I always skipped that part of the scripture passage. But, as he spoke and shared his thoughts, I related them to my own experience.
I thought back to my race in Louisville. The mini was only my second half to complete. It was my first thousands of runners race. It was also my first thousands upon thousands of spectators along the course. All the folks cheering really added to the whole race experience. There were so many encouraging and hilarious signs to read. I think my favorites were, "run random stranger run", "run like you stole something" and of course "toenails are for sissies". (I relate to the last one on a personal level having lost two nails since the finish.) There was constant upbeat music playing. The diversity of the people groups there to witness our running was something I did not expect. We had everything from church groups, to frat boys, to nursing home residents waiting to clap, cheer and show their support. So yeah, I get the "great cloud of witnesses" part now.
I ran late Sunday night and had all of this on my mind. I stopped and found Oh! Happy Day on my iPod. As I listened, I made a mental note to watch the clip from Secretariat yet again. As I watched with fresh eyes and with the mind set of "great cloud of witnesses", I noticed all the cutting away from the horses and the track back to those who were there to watch this great victory. Their reaction to the win is nothing short of complete jubilation. The jubilation of the spectators spurs the runners on to the finish line. Oh! Happy Day indeed!!!!