Sports can have such a significant magnitude on society when everyone puts their differences aside and comes together as Americans instead of the politics and philosophies that divide us.
It’s sort of the reason why people really hate ESPN and certain individual athletes who feel the need to express their political views publicly because they have no shame of condescending to those who hold counter viewpoints.
But sometimes we put our differences aside and witness absolutely extraordinary sports moments, which was the case of a retired Marine at the Boston Marathon.
There have been some incredible sports moments in the last several years. Tom Brady led his New England Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit with a few minutes to go in the 3rd quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in order to win the Super Bowl.
Several months later, LeBron James stormed his Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 3-1 game deficit against the Golden State Warriors to win the series, which had never been done before.
Months later in November, the Chicago Cubs were also down 3-1 games ironically against the Cleveland Indians and you can probably guess what happened.
The best part of all these moments? Zero politics.
Sports are entertainment first and foremost, but it’s also designed to be universally beloved like the global Summer and Winter Olympics. It’s one of those escapisms that deter our focus away from the divide in this country and it’s badly needed in these times.
And that was undeniable when a retired Marine Corps veteran, Micah Herndon, ran the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon and was so exhausted during the final stretch that he was forced to cross the finish line by crawling on his hands and knees over the finish line.
WATCH: Marine veteran Micah Herndon, who ran the Boston Marathon to honor three friends killed in Afghanistan, crawls to the finish line. https://t.co/LJq7q2s2SP – @NBC10Boston pic.twitter.com/rufCosbYrI
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 16, 2019
The Ohio veteran served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Herndon ran the race for three of his fallen friends who lost their lives in an IED attack in Iraq – Marines Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard, and Rupert Hamer, a British journalist.
Herndon told the Record-Courier, “I run in honor of them. They are not here anymore. I am here, and I am able. I am lucky to still have all my limbs. I can still be active. I find fuel in the simple idea that I can run. Some cannot.”
He also added, “I just keep saying their names out loud to myself. They went through much worse, so I run for them and their families.”
What’s more amazing than honoring your friends in a way like this? It’s not even running the 26.2 miles to uphold their legacy; it’s the fact that he was finishing the race no matter what, even if he had to crawl.
This actually happens a lot to runners. It’s what’s known as “hitting the wall,” – essentially a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy caused by the depletion of glycogen stored in the liver and muscles, which basically cuts off the communication between your brain and the rest of your body.
It’s as if your brain is desperately telling your leg to move but it’s not responding, but in this case, Herndon’s muscles were willing to compensate with him to crawl the rest of the way.