My friends are fun, especially my running friends. You have to be if you’re running tons of miles for the fun of it. And they can make a good race sign. I think that’s why we’re friends 😉
I love to read a good race sign when I’m on the course. Sometimes I need that motivation, sometimes I need a good laugh, and sometimes I just need to know someone’s out there for me.
My love for cheering for races started with the Kanye sign. Some friends and I decided to cheer for Disney’s Enchanted 10K, and it was so much fun! Runners would laugh, they would stop for a quick pic, and I loved shouting encouraging things. The Kanye sign was Instafamous for about 5 minutes, but the best was hearing stories of how it actually inspired runners. I was inspired by their stories, and watching people overcome obstacles, fatigue, and fear during a race is extremely motivating. So cheering soon became a regular thing.
We’ve even started adding Celebrity Corner where we bring giant heads of celebrities and have posters of them saying things. Not even the Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or even Puppy Monkey Baby brought controversy.
It was Darth Vader.
It was late and we needed to get to bed to get up early to cheer for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon runners in the morning. I still had not come up with a sign idea. I was feeling some pressure from last year’s Kanye sign. So I searched the internet, saw the Darth Vader sign, laughed, and my friend Shannon whipped up a quick Vader. I loved it! Probably because Darth Vader is my favorite Star Wars character.
So in the morning I started to worry a bit. Is saying I find people’s lack of training disturbing rude? My friends assured me it wasn’t, and so we went to find a cheering spot around mile 12. At first I just kind of let my sign hang down low. I was trying to feel out the crowd. The elites don’t usually pay attention to our signs. They may glance, but give us an ‘oh, well aren’t you cute?’ nod and carry on with their running. Then the middle-of-the-pack runners starting coming. Our people!
Well I was getting positive feedback on the sign. People would laugh. Nod their heads in agreement. Stop for pictures. Yell to their friends about their training. I was feeling good and started to cheer louder now.
All of our friends had passed, but we decided to stay until the last runner came by. I wasn’t really thinking about my sign. I was caught up in the moment of cheering, yelling, clapping, handing out candy, and encouraging every runner and walker, because your mental game comes into play at the end.
The last 5 runners were coming around, because we had seen the Balloon Ladies pass, and we saw the runDisney motorcade coming up. One girl was by herself, saw my sign, kept moving, and then changed her mind. She took out her earbuds, backed it up, and said, “You know what? That sign sucks!”
Me: <awkward smile>
Her: That’s not nice. I did try to train for this race, but I’m injured.
Me: Sorry, the sign was just for the Star Wars fans.
Her: Well I’m a StarWars fan, and it sucks. <starts crying> <gave me the finger. not that finger, but an index finger as she pointed at me and walked off>
Me: <awkward silence> <feels like crap>
My friends and I just stood there dumbfounded. Then I just had to laugh and shrug it off. I knew where she was coming from, because I had been there. Tinker Bell Half 2014 was horrible. I knew the frustration. I knew that anything could have set me off, because it’s not the race I had dreamed of running. The very next day during the marathon, I told my friend I had had enough of her motivational anythings. Different people just need different things.
My sign could have very well sucked, but I don’t think it was that that caused this particular confrontation.
So my perfect sign record was blemished, but that didn’t stop me from bringing Trump and Clinton to Princess Half Marathon. If you’ll be around for Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, my friends have an epic cheering section planned.
For the future I’ll just stick to the nice signs my daughters make for me at the airport. Or else I’ll bring my kids with me to cheer. Who can yell at these faces?