Passing the Baton

It’s track season once again. I loved watching my son compete—and his individual events were so exciting. 
But there was something special about his relay races. In the dicey “exchange zone” the baton is passed from one runner to the next. 
They have mere seconds to make a clean exchange in the zone, without dropping the baton or taking precious seconds off their time. 

It’s a skill the team routinely practices and in competition their mission isn't just passing the baton, but winning the race.

I was wondering how Millennials are feeling as they reach behind to grab the baton from our generation (Boomers)? Just how are we doing in the exchange zone? 
This much is certain: we are passing a baton weighted down with national debt. A debt they didn’t create on their own. But it’s getting passed on.
Even though they are younger, stronger, and will live longer, they are going to have to work harder to win.

When I Lost One for the Team

I stood before the tribunal of unsmiling judges. Having completed the debate competition was hard enough, to now face their criticism was worse. 
My teammate and I had argued our case about America’s broken welfare system against a formidable twosome.

Now the four of us had to stand and listen to why we’d won or lost. To say it was humbling is mild. 
The judges could tell us we were sloppy in our presentation, or worse, that our arguments were unfounded—a polite way of saying that we were blowing smoke and didn’t know what we were talking about. 
You couldn't fool the judges—they could shoot holes in your logic, and expose any shoddy research. 

Sweat was sliding down my back as it became my turn to hear their critique. Later, I would wonder why this was something I enjoyed doing, but for now, I respectfully stood and listened.
Tapping a pen on the score sheet in front of him, one of the judges impaled me with glaring eyes. Thoughts raced through my mind. How could I have done so bad? Wh…

Deliberate Act of Kindness

While standing two grocery carts behind an elderly woman’s full cart, I mentally calculated the odds of getting faster service at the self-checkout. But the self-checkout line snaked back into the aisles leading up to it. Who knew how far back it went. I had more than the 15-item maximum for the quick line, so I stayed put.
The elderly woman closely observed every item as it was scanned and the price that it charged. Even though the little payment machine kept beeping at her, she made no attempt to put her card in the chip reader. The clerk announced the grand total and the woman slowly opened her purse and pulled out a wallet.

Focusing her eyes on the bills inside she carefully started counting out the amount owed. I noticed that all of us behind her were watching those shaky hands methodically lay down dollar bills—one by one.

She looked up at the total and realized she didn’t have enough. Without hesitation, the man behind her opened his own wallet, as did the couple behind him. I …