Friday, April 6, 2012

The New Patron Saint of Runners and Athletes

Yesterday's run wasn't special, but it was.  This may sound like a paradox, but the logic makes sense to me because like uncle Walt, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large -- I contain multitudes.”

I have had a lot of cruddy runs since the start of the spring allergy fest.  But, yesterday wasn't one of them.  I did my normal Thursday 6 mile loop without any issues.  Saying that it felt wonderful, just doesn't get it done.  Honestly felt like I was channeling some Whitman-esque love of life and the human form in motion. You'll have to forgive my literary musings today, but every once in a while, when I feel rather exuberant, I like putting my double major in English Literature / Philosophy & Religion to some use and geeking out a bit.  And, TODAY seems to be one of those occasions.  Yesterday's run has me feeling inspired like some Patron Saint has interceded on my behalf and blessed me with the good fortune of a great run.    

The fine people of Google tell me that Saint Sebastian is patron saint of athletes.  This is because of his physical endurance and his energetic way of spreading and defending the Faith. Sebastian is also patron of soldiers because entered the Roman army under Emperor Carinus in 283 in order to defend the confessors and martyrs of his day without drawing attention to himself. His efforts kept the Faith of Marcus and Marcellian firm during their persecutions, right up to the time of their martyrdom. He was declared patron of plague sufferers of his reported cures of those afflicted with many diseases. 

All of which is noble and sounds fairly appropriate.  However, personally and with apologies to St. Sebastian, I think that the modern athlete needs a patron with more zeal, a greater lust for life, and and appreciation of the human form at all stages of life, which is why I am DECLARING . . . Yes . . . that is right . . .  DECLARING . . . with "my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.” or over twitter, blogger, and Facebook, which is not really the same but will do for now.
Therefore, with this ~I DECLARE  Walt Whitman is henceforth the patron Saint of  Athletes and Runners the world over . . .


“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.”
― Walt Whitman
Whitman attacked life with and exuberance that is worthy of envy, but he was also a caring person, who understood all to well the fragility of life.  He was a nurse, tending the wounded and sick in hospitals outside Washington D.C. during the civil war.  He was a huge influence on the Beat poets, has been called the "imaginative father and mother" of all Americans, ""the first poet of democracy", was the central inspiration for the Dead Poets Society of  Welton Academy! With in Whitman's words and poetry there is a wealth of inspiration, guidance, and support for everyone from the professional athlete to the person just getting off the couch and shaking off the shackles of a sedentary lifestyle. 

“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

 “In the faces of men and women, I see God.”
― Walt Whitman

 “Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”
― Walt Whitman

 “O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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