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Being There

Every now and then a moment comes along that takes your breath away. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is the case a good video or film can be worth a million. That is why you must watch the below video and I mean must! It truly is amazing. Seventeen million people cannot be wrong. If you don’t believe me just read some of the almost 10,000 comments . If you have seen it before, it is still worth another watch today.

This news story coverage from Seth Rubinroit called Best of Olympics: Derek Redmond’s emotional father-son moment in ’92 tells the story well.

 “Derek Redmond’s father, Jim, helped his injured son finish his race at the 1992 Olympics

 Derek Redmond was running in the 400m semifinal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when he felt a pop in his right hamstring. The sprinter from Great Britain hopped a few steps before falling to the track in obvious pain. 

 Determined to complete his lap, Derek waved off medical personnel and returned to his feet. 

 His father, Jim, was watching from the stands. Desperate to help his son, he ran towards the track, evading security. Derek leaned on his father’s shoulder and finished the race with tears streaming down his face. 

 The moment was memorialized in a Visa commercial in 2008 narrated by actor Morgan Freeman. Freeman ended the commercial by reading, “He and his father finished dead last, but he and his father finished.”

 The original call of the race from NBC Olympics play-by-play announcer Tom Hammond is in the video at the top of this story. As Derek crossed the finish line, Hammond said, “That is the Olympic spirit.”

 Derek now travels the world conducting speaking appearances at schools, corporate and charity events, according to his publicist.

 Jim was one of the torchbearers during the torch relay for the 2012 London Games.”

The powerful moment in the video is when Derek Redmond’s dad comes onto the track and puts his arm around his son to help him finish the race. Derek’s Dad simply “Being There” for his son, not only encouraged Derek to limp on and finish the race and not give up, but brought encouragement to the hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of people who would have seen the news footage on TV both on the day and over the last few decades since.

Seeing the video reminded me of a moment when my own Dad was there for me when I needed him.

I was 14 years old and got involved in my first major school yard fight. To be clear, the fight started in the PE change room of the high school I attended, and finished on a vacant lot next to the Blackheath railway station, surrounded by a cheering group of friends and enemies who were eager to see blood. They were not disappointed.

The fight had started when ‘Lockee’, a high school bully, was harassing one of the weaker students in the class who was getting changed. I told him to back off. Well it got physical, and as I had the element of surprise, I got the better of him momentarily. He didn’t expect weak “little Marshy” to have a go at him. Bullies make my blood boil, so I had a head of steam. The teacher intervened and separated us.

We both lived in the same town, so we agreed to meet after the train got in, and finish the fight. Well ‘Lockee’ finished me and gave me a bleeding nose as he was young boxer in training. I went home crying and collapsed in my father’s arms much like Derek Redmond did and like Derek Redmond, I was glad my Dad was good at “Being There.”

He asked me what had happened, and I tearfully explained, in between great sobs of emotion, the story of the fight and what started it and what finished it. He did not try to defend me nor defend my foe nor call the police as mothers are wont to do.  He simply listed to my tearful story put his arm around me and encouraged me. There is a great encouragement for any man to Just Keep Going On with his Dad just “Being there.”

 Lovework

Yes Dad, you are important. Remember the time when your dad was there for you like Derek Redmond’s dad was there for him? If your dad was not there for you, for whatever reason, you more than others, know the importance of just being there for your children.  So as the man said, “Just do it!”

Yours for being there

Warwick Marsh

PS: I also encourage you to watch the Derek Redmond video with your children and ask them how they feel watching it, and why? Their answers might surprise you. If you’re brave enough, tell your children your own tragedies and triumphs that come to mind while watching Derek’s video. Your children need to hear about them, but I did say brave enough, because such heartfelt honesty requires great courage indeed, from a dad.  If you need further encouragement just watch/listen to Dan Smith’s “Just Keep Going On.”

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