bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: I want to be Fauja Singh someday

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The Olympic torch began its week-long journey around London on Saturday. Fauja Singh was one of the people chosen to carry the flame, which is certainly an honor for anyone. Singh has one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard, and I wanted to share it here. I hope you appreciate this amazing man the way I do.

The first thing that jumps out at you about Singh is that he is 101 years old. People are living longer and longer these days, according to all reports, but there are not many that make it into the triple-digits. This is no Willard Scott impression on my part, though. I am not writing about this man simply to congratulate him on making it to such an advanced age. Singh is a marathon runner. Yes, you read that correctly. I did not just say he was a runner, which would be remarkable enough on its own, but I said he runs marathons. He competed as recently as October of 2011, running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and completing it in just over eight hours. Now imagine yourself at age 101. If you can even do that, try to see if you can see yourself being able to walk a mile, let alone run 26 of them. I am guessing you are struggling with that picture. If I am able to get out of bed at that age, I will consider myself fortunate.

What is equally remarkable here is that Singh did not start running until he was 86 years old, and ran his first marathon at 89 in London. He finished in under seven hours. He has run seven more marathons since, with his best being in Toronto in 2003, which he finished in 5 hours and 40 minutes. Yes, he ran that time at age 92. Singh was born in Punjab, India, in 1911. He can not read or write, and he speaks only Punjabi. He began to run after he moved to the U.K., which was after the deaths of his wife and his son.

I plan to run my first marathon this coming January. I started running at age 41, which is fairly late in life to start something like this, or so I thought. It is truly inspirational to me that Fauja Singh began at more than twice my age. He is famously quoted as saying “The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for last six miles, I run while talking to God.” As I trudge around the Walt Disney World course this winter, I don’t imagine I will be doing much talking to God, but I bet I will be thinking about Singh and his amazing accomplishments.

By the way, Singh hopes to carry the torch in the 2016 Olympics as well. I fully expect him to do so.

Good sports, continued:

2) Guor Marial is another marathon runner with an interesting story. He will be competing in the upcoming Summer Games despite having no passport and no country that is recognized by the IOC. Marial is from South Sudan, which has just recently declared its independence from Sudan. The new country does not have an Olympic body, so Marial is unable to compete the traditional way. Instead, he will compete under the Olympic banner.

3) Ernie Els won the Open Championship, also known as the British Open, on Sunday. This was actually a shocking development. Adam Scott entered Sunday’s final round with a four stroke lead over Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell. He had the same four stroke lead over Els with only four holes to play on Sunday. He bogeyed all four of those holes, while Els parred the first three and birdied the final hole to take the title.

4) Jim Thome just keeps bashing. He hit his 610th homerun on Sunday, passing Sammy Sosa to move into 7th place on the all-time list. Unlike Sosa, Thome hit his with no chemical assistance.

Bad sports:

1) Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant continues to show that the teams that passed on him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft may have known what they were doing. Yes, Bryant has incredible football skills. He is also a bad guy. He was arrested on Monday for domestic abuse after he reportedly smacked his mother around. Bryant has been in hot water several times over the last year, although this is his first actual arrest. It won’t be his last.

2) A high school girl in Japan got a javelin through the head on Tuesday while training with her track and field team. Amazingly, she survived and is expected to recover.

3) The Detroit Lions have had yet another arrest in what has been a nightmare of an off-season. It was a repeat offender this time, as cornerback Aaron Berry was arrested yet again. Saturday’s arrest involved multiple charges of assault, and a weapon was allegedly present in the altercation. Berry was charged with DUI just about a month ago.

4) Continuing the DUI epidemic that seems to have taken over the NFL, Kenny Britt, a star wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans, was the genius responsible this time, as he was arrested and charged early Friday morning. Britt, clearly no brain surgeon, was actually trying to enter a Kentucky army base, not realizing that the military police at the gates might not take kindly to his drunk self.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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2 Responses to “Bad sports, good sports: I want to be Fauja Singh someday”

  1. Alan, good luck in that marathon … but in January? Is it in the Philly area? I can think of more comfortable ways to keep warm!

  2. Thanks Jeff. The marathon is at Walt Disney World in Florida. No worries about the temperature! I do like to run when it’s cold, though, actually. You warm up quickly.

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