The Honeymoon is Over

Posted on November 18, 2014 under Storytelling with one comment


For whom the bell tolls



All honeymoons eventually come to an end.  After a burst of euphoria, whether it involves getting elected to public office or getting hitched, the thrill abates and life settles into a predictable pattern.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of sports.  Teams or individuals who reach the pinnacle often suffer a letdown.  And in some highly publicized cases, the fall can be of Herculean proportions when it comes to light that the victory was ill won.

What memory would be more cherished than taking part in a road race in a place called Honeymoon Island on the Gulf of Mexico?

It was a pristine morning for running as the two MacDonald brothers readied themselves for the task at hand.  One would run the 5K while the other signed up for the 10K.  A third brother acted as chauffeur, coach and cheerleader.  Stoked for the event, the athletes and their handler slipped out of the resort at 6:00 a.m.

The previous evening they had eaten at a wonderful Italian restaurant, although they hardly needed to “carb load” for such short distances.

They crossed a causeway leading to the state park.  It would be closed to vehicular traffic until the conclusion of the race.

The early morning air had a nip to it … hardly what someone from a northern climate would call cold. The locals find these temperatures frigid and it is not uncommon to see runners donning toques and mittens.  The runners and their one man entourage, who was wielding a cow bell, took the long walk to the registration area and start/finish line.  Optimism was in the air.

They joined about a thousand other runners and quickly picked up their timing chips, bibs and other race paraphernalia.

At the appointed hour, the 10K race commenced followed a few minutes later by the 5K crew.  By any account it was a perfect day for running and, had the big guns been there, surely records would have fallen.  As it turned out, there was a record set that is not likely to be duplicated anytime soon.

The MacDonald boys are known as a competitive lot and it came as no surprise to their coach that they performed impressively.  He was watching at the finish line, and just by eyeballing the competition he figured that each of his brothers had probably won their divisions.  High fives ensued along with the mandatory post-race picture and some imaginary media interviews; the cow bell was now a microphone.   To the victors go the spoils.

Knowing that there would be a massive traffic jam with people trying to get off the Island, the triumvirate made a beeline for the exits, eschewing the awards ceremony.  Unfortunately, race officials had miscalculated finishing times and the wait to get across the causeway dragged on considerably.  A few people waiting in line were not happy to be detained and one became exceedingly enraged.  Only through the efforts of a race volunteer with the steely resolve of Henry Kissinger was peace maintained.

On the homeward trip, the chauffeur casually reminded his brothers, in a somewhat supercilious fashion, that he had completed the Boston Marathon twice.  Quite an accomplishment by many standards.

Later that day the race results were published. The younger brother had indeed won his division handily.  A casual glance at the 65 + category revealed a startling situation.  The elder MacDonald had won the 65+ female division and, upon close examination, had the fastest time in the male division.  You could just see the headlines in the paper: “Hardware for Hermaphrodite”.

A clerical “error” made when the younger MacDonald registered them both had put him in the wrong gender class.  All three men pondered the earlier statement about the athletic successes of the coach/chauffeur.  While completing Boston twice is commendable, it was hard to argue that winning both the male and female divisions in the same road race trumped these meager achievements.

A few days later, after consulting with race officials, the elder MacDonald travelled to a neighboring community to collect his spoils.

He walked into the Chamber of Commerce building in Dunedin wearing a kilt. He was given his medal for the female division.  A quick change into his golf attire and the male division medal adorned his neck.

Hard to imagine this honeymoon ending any time soon.

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