Wednesday, October 17, 2012

beet ya to the finish line

As my son races past yet another birthday, I am proud of the incredible person that he has become.  I often flashback to the little toddler running to me in tears after being pushed in the playground, and I am astonished at how he has matured so quickly, especially in the last few months, and he seems to have all of a sudden, become a mature young gentleman...a respectful, kind human being with true leadership qualities.

With recent news about the heartbreaking story of the young girl who was bullied so much she ended her life,  just thinking that high school is around the corner can almost overwhelm me with emotion and worry...soon my little boy will be navigating bigger halls of friends, competitors, bullies and strangers.  Will he pass the finish line of high school unscathed?  Will he be okay?

My son joined his school's cross country team for the first time and after a month of weekly practices, he ran his first race. The race was larger than I had anticipated, as it was against a half a dozen other schools.  In a way, it was my first race too, and I found it interesting to observe him stretch and prepare, both mentally and physically for the race. 

After the starting gun went off...he went at a leisurely pace.  I didn't see him for quite a few minutes until towards the end of the last leg of the run...he was smiling and running at a calm and even pace.

At the end of the day, while driving home, he casually mentioned an incident that occurred on the bus en route to the race track.   A few rough kids were teasing him.  Taunting him and sneering that he'd probably be in the bottom half of the team, coming in 100th place or so, because they doubted his athletic abilities.

As my heart crushed hearing this, I calmly asked him how he responded (and the overprotective, emotional parent inside of me wanted to scream and throttle those kids).   He said he smiled, shrugged their comments off, and didn't bother to say anything.  He said he didn't need to.  You see, for the past month at all of the practices, he observed that they were unable to catch up to him, so he understood that they were acting out of jealousy and insecurity.  He knew he was rooted in his faith of doing well, and their harsh words, although rough and bitter at first, just gave him more determination to prove them wrong.

My son came in 4th place out of 100 (tops from his school in his division), and qualified to compete in the regional finals!  All day he was congratulated by friends, classmates, teachers and many other parents.  Prove them wrong, indeed!

But to be honest, more than how well he placed in the race, I am even more proud of how he composed himself before it.  He kept his chin held high, knew his strengths, maturely sympathized with their weaknesses, and didn't let the detractors discourage him.

And if you're wondering where those boys ended up in the race...they came in around 90th place.  And although I will always worry about my kids life in high school, for now...

...I think he'll do just fine.

Roasted Beet Salad
(adapted from Allrecipes)

  • 3-4 large beets 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced 
  • 1 cup of cooked corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Feta (to taste)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). 
  • Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
  • Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 
  • Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the beets in the pan. 
  • Rub 2 tbsp. olive oil over the beets, and sprinkle with salt (optional). 
  • Cover the beets with another sheet of aluminum foil. 
  • Roast for 1 to 2 hours,  (until the fork tines go in easily)
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  • Peel and cut into quarters.
  • Add onions and corn.
  • Toss with olive oil and feta (or a greek olive oil salad dressing)


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