Suffice it to say that I am not a good runner. When I was a 6 year old playing Little League, I was once thrown out at first base on a clean single to right field. While I insist the right fielder had an abnormally strong arm for a child, others saw it differently. Another parent leaned over to my parents and mentioned that there was a surgery that could be done that involved partially slicing tendons in the leg to increase my speed. My mother was having none of it, but I have little doubt my father spent some time looking into it.
In 6th Grade, we were forced to run the mile for some Presidential Fitness Citation thing. The gym teacher took us down to a road behind the school and set us loose. My friend Pat and I decided that running was stupid and meandered on down the road. 22 minutes later we returned to a livid gym teacher and confused classmates. I can now legitimately say that I have been timed at 22 minutes in the mile run.
So, on April 15th, I am going to run the Boston Marathon in order to raise money for the You Can Play Project. This will not be something I enjoy doing. My goal is not to set any particular pace, only to survive (please keep in mind, the first person to ever run a marathon literally died) and also to avoid significant chafing. My friends at the November Project have been helping me prepare for months, and I'm ready to do it. If only to spite that judgmental parent and my former gym teacher.
I was told the best way to raise money would be to announce something major that this fundraising would go towards- a new campaign, new materials, a promise to do something massive. But the more mind-numbing time I spent pounding pavement to prepare for the marathon, the more I realized I didn't want that. It's not in our DNA to create something sexy just for attention when there's real work to be done. What I am asking all of you to donate to today is to support the grunt work that goes into You Can Play. The mundane, day-to-day, seemingly trivial costs that are the lifeblood of any charity work. Hotel rooms for meetings. Amtrak trips to New York to meet with league officials. Travel costs for our LGBT athlete speakers. Kinko's fees to print materials to give away at events, or to create signs.
These are the costs that we spend most of our time worrying about and trying to justify. Cutting corners on small expenses so that we have funds for the big requests when they come in. Taking 5am flights to save fifty bucks and arriving at an important meeting bleary-eyed and fueled only by caffeine. Begging local print shops to make us some materials we can give out at speaking engagements. There's nothing sexy or exciting about these costs, just like there's nothing sexy or exciting about running 26.2 miles. But they're absolutely vital to what we do, and eliminating our need to worry about the nickel and dime stuff will allow us to spend all of our time, energy, and capital on the bigger picture work that we believe we excel at.
So, to all of our friends, family, supporters, athletes, and donors. Please take this opportunity to support us in a truly meaningful way. Your donation, no matter how big or how small, will allow us to continue to fight for equality in the sports world. Step by step, little by little, until the race is done.