Like that Jamaican runner said on that old "Seinfeld" episode, "I got ta reece tomorrow, mon!" Accordingly, it's early to bed, even before St. Patty's Day, to get ready for tomorrow's NYC Half Marathon! The hype around this one evokes a similar feeling to the ING NYC Marathon, and by a stroke of luck, this is the first time I'm doing it, after going through the lottery.
Due to my extreme lack of Celtic ancestry, I never really learned a lot of extensive information about good old Saint Patrick, other than a story about him expelling snakes out of a country that they would not have found hospitable to begin with. Having Googled the man, myth, and legend, I've learned that he was a man who overcame severe hardships to proceed in a quest. Specifically, this quest involved returning to the country where he was enslaved, and from where he had escaped from that slavery, to bring the word of G-D, as he understood it, to that country. Not to point out the obvious, but he won.
Not an easy task, by any means. Type of thing that leaves the rest of us discouraged and defeated. But this man had the fortitude to not only defy the rules that kept him enslaved, but to actually return to the same place that enslaved him, with every intention of becoming a respected leader. Who does that?
Deep down, I'd like to think that we all do.
What better way to call yourself a winner than to return to someplace that you endured hardships and show people that you're not the same as you were before? Or better yet, to just walk in there like you own the place, and then actually own the place!
Just from those facts alone, I'm shocked that Hollywood didn't pick up on this man's story in earlier years. Nowadays, they never would, they'd be too afraid of possibly promoting a particular religion, or even showing religion in a good light in general. Or possibly afraid that it would just appeal to one target audience and alienate everyone else. That's a shame.
I know that it's not really my holiday, but shouldn't the celebrations honor the man and his deeds just a little bit more? When I was in grade school, we were taught that "everyone's Irish on St. Patty's Day," and my Mom used to make corned beef and cabbage and bake Irish soda bread, so we could all share in the festivities. But the idea that this man had a quest that would have crushed those with weaker wills, and he succeeded at it, is something that should be common knowledge to everyone, Irish or not, and regardless of religion. Personally, I think his memory deserves a little bit more than a pint of Guinness.
So, peeps, as we inch towards the final days of winter and the promise of spring, remember what St. Patrick did as you don the green. Regardless of your faith or your tribe, raise a glass to someone who was brave, resilient and indefatigable. Take his story as an example to remember that you can survive damn near anything with enough faith in yourself. And that after you're done surviving, you can outdo yourself and succeed, too!
Happy St. Patty's Day, all, and good luck to all my TFK/RWP friends in NYC who are running the Half tomorrow -- see you all at the South Street Seaport!