Well worn athletic shoes encompassing all of the colors of the rainbow.
Matching jerseys representing the names of teams throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Sun-rays cascading through multi-hued leaves, spreading across the lawn and beautiful campus of St. Lawrence Seminary High School.
Voices shouting through microphones, bullhorns and loudspeakers directing athletes where to practice.
Capuchin priests and brothers in habits chatting amid the crowds.
Volunteers selling food, clothing and beverages.
Children running, giggling and rolling down the hills.
This is the Hilltopper.
This past Saturday, the annual high school cross country race brought together more than 600 runners to experience the school’s grueling course of hills, valleys and the rustic potato patch. Embedded within the hundreds of feet clamoring to make it up ‘Big Bertha,” the main hill connected the upper campus to the soccer fields below was my son, Erin and his teammates.
From the single shot of the starting pistol, we watched with eager anticipation at our children.
Erin, mired in the middle was secretly pacing himself, allowing others to achieve early advantage. He seemed to run effortlessly to the halfway point of the 5K race. By the potato patch, he had picked up his speed, muscles ripping with pain, breath labored, sweat dripping into his eyes.
I was not alone in craning to see my child run and prayed that he would win. As each second passed family members lengthened their statures in hopes to glimpse their child among the masses.
Towards the end, we were all screaming.
I remember yelling, “Run Erin Run–Run with all your might”
My husband snapped photos as I was too jumpy, and too excited–not to mention, I had my 3-year-old granddaughter on my shoulders!
First one crossed the finish line, then another, then another and so on, until finally I saw the gold uniform.
It was him.
He was beat red, pushing as hard as his body would take him.
“Run Erin Run”
And he crossed the finish line–number 15. Good enough to medal.
The rest of the SLS team came in afterwards, equally exhausted, in pain, out of breath, spent….
They did it.
They earned Third Place.
They ran with all their might–and suddenly, the day seemed even brighter than it did the moment before.
Very proud of all of you–all of the sons of Calvary, each one–I fondly feel as if they also belong to me.
Congratulations on a well run race!
This is Erin’s last Hilltopper, as he graduates this year, but I am sure that he will run many other races in his lifetime.
A huge thank you to the wonderful example of the Capuchin Franciscans at SLS for giving my son a quality education imbued with sound Catholic Moral teaching and examples. I will never forget any of you!
I especially wish to thank Fr. Dennis Druggan, OFM CAP, for sharing the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and serving as a living example of a moral life, filled with the mercy and grace of God to all. Erin looks up to you as do each of the boys on the hill.