MELISSA'S BLOG: Rediscovering joy through the Games

Dewayne Christensen captured this finish-line moment between 13's Melissa Brunner and a young athlete at the 2017 Sunflower State Games.

(WIBW) - The things we love can become mundane or even a chore if we let them. Revisiting them through the eyes of a child can be just the ticket to rediscovering the joy.

I love to run but - let's be honest - some days are easier than others to get out and get moving! Maybe it's hot, maybe my legs feel stiff, maybe I didn't get a lot of sleep and cuddling on the couch with the cat seems oh, such much more inviting! A good motivator on those days is ice cream - I remind myself I run for ice cream!

Of course, reminders of why I started running in the first place come up in places like that captured in the photo included with this blog. After the Sunflower State Games Cauldron Run activities include a kids run. After I finished the 5K, I noticed the kids had started running, so I went to their finish line to watch. SSG executive director Mitch Gross was there and asked if I'd like to give the kids their medals as they crossed the finish line.

"They might think it's cool to get a medal from a TV person!" he said, plus he needed to check on the rest of the events.

The first young runners came in, arms pumping, feet pounding, breath huffing - and huge smiles on their faces! They did it! Even a little girl shedding a few tears because she tripped brightened as I gave her a hug and hung a shiny medal around her neck. Even initial groans were soon followed by giggles. High-fives were freely exchanged and well-deserved.

There's an old Family Circus cartoon where the kids say to each other, "When we get older, running won't be fun. It'll just be exercise." When we grown ups start to think that way, we should remember why the Sunflower State Games are called "games." There is joy in movement, joy in reaching a finish line, joy in simply being part of the activity. In starting to think of a run as something I "have" to do, can lose site of why I *want* to do it.

Congratulations to the 7,222 participants in the 2017 Sunflower State Games. I hope you all rediscovered the joy in doing. It shines brighter than any gold medal!

p.s. Thanks to Dewayne Christensen for capturing the moment of joy in the photo!