Category Archives: Mulligan Moments

The past is gone. The future is not yet available.

‘Lion’ Named Running Movie of the Year

Lion, the Academy Award-nominated film based on the true story of a child’s accidental separation from his family in India, has been selected Running Movie of the Year by TakingMulligans, a website that explores the emotional side of running.

The movie depicts the young Saroo’s natural reliance on running, not as a sport, but as an integral part of how he lives his life.  Saroo, played as a child by Sunny Pawar, doesn’t run for fitness or personal records, he runs because he is compelled to by circumstance. He runs because he can and because he has to.  In running, Saroo finds deliverance not only from imminent and nefarious threats to him as a child, but also later in life, in the imagery and emotion that the activity has seared into his memory.

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Sunny Pawar plays the young Saroo in Lion, Taking Mulligan’s 2016 Running Movie of the Year

 

It is for this poignant, visceral and dramatic demonstration of the power of running to protect us physically and nurture us emotionally that has distinguished Lion as Running Movie of the Year.

Running serves the hero of the story in several pivotal ways.  First, in a practical way: it is how the small child navigates the harsh realities of living in his tiny village. He runs to do his work and return safely to his home.  He even finds safety in a mad dash for medical care after a startling childhood accident. Running also becomes his escape route when threatened by child kidnappers who prey upon his vulnerability.

Finally, when the boy, now grown into a man, and played by Academy Award nominee Dev Patel, seeks to reconstruct the clues to his childhood, running serves him one more time. As he relives the moments of his youth, he sees himself again through the eyes and emotions of that running child (with a little help from Google Earth).  Through the imprint that running to and through his village has made in his memory, the grown-up Saroo unlocks the answers of who he is and where he comes from.

 

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Throughout Lion, the Academy Award-nominated film, the hero finds safety, deliverance and life-altering redemption in the physical and emotional gifts of running. (photo by Mark Rogers)

Other nominees this year included ‘Race,’ the story of  Jesse Owens and his triumphant victories in the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the days leading up to World War II, and Sully, the story of pilot Chesley Sullenburger, who found running to be a source of strength and emotional refuge which contributed to (and helped him deal with the aftermath of) his daring landing of a passenger jet in the Hudson River.   Sullenburger was featured in this Runners’ World article when the movie premiered.

Taking Mulligans’ Running Movie of the Year is chosen to reflect how running is more than just a sport or fitness activity, it can unlock emotions and serve as a catalyst for change and positive developments in life.

Mulligan Moment of 2016 – Running Edition

As loyal readers of Taking Mulligans know, the disappointing circumstances of my final high school track meet started a thread of endeavors that led me to, more than 30 years later, write an upcoming book and two major features stories for Runners’ World (The Mulligan Mile, Cross Country Romance).   I can only imagine where Justin DeLuzio’s final college cross country race will propel him.  Other than a cornfield.

In November, he was about a mile into running that race for Gwyneed Mercy University, when a deer blindsided him and knocked him airborne– and into the viral running clip of the year.   Click below for ESPN’s coverage of it.

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CLICK HERE for Viral Running Clip of the Year

Getting knocked down may win you viral clip of the year. But it’s what’s not on this clip that won him our Mulligan Moment of the Year– getting back up to finish the last 4 miles of the race.   And what’s more, it’s a few thoughts he shared in this interview with NPR that resonated most with Taking Mulligans.  Listen and you’ll hear some good advice for going forward into 2017.  Surprisingly, he’s not the one in the interview that encourages us to get back up when we get knocked down.  His advice?  No resentment.  Be grateful.  Be aware.

And for that, Justin DeLuzio, an actuarial science student from Limerick, PA, wins Running’s Mulligan Moment of the Year.

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CLICK HERE for Talking With Justin  to hear and read an interview with Justin.

 

 

 

 

Mulligan Moments of 2016 – Public Activism Edition

Sometime a mulligan is more than just a mulligan.  It’s a way forward that breaks abruptly with the past and establishes a whole new perspective on the world.  Here are two Mulligan Moments that may be harbingers of new understanding and appreciation of what’s best about our great nation and the towns that we live in.

The most startling and emotional moment came at the contentious location of Standing Rock, when a gathering of veterans offered a very public apology for transgressions of the United States government, military, and citizens upon the native peoples of the land of North America.  Seeking forgiveness is a humbling step.  And accepting forgiveness is a tremendous gift to all parties involved.  May this moment be the mulligan that heals and protects  and brings peace and justice to our nation and our Native American family.

 

A dear friend and inspiration of mine, Joyce Marin, pointed out that that not only do people have comeback stories, but a town can too.  Joyce, the executive director of RenewLV, reminded me of Iron Works Catasauqua and the work of their municipal council to push this project forward over the last 10 years.  According to Joyce, this year the council, led by Vincent Smith, Catasauqua, PA’s borough council president, passed the mixed-use zoning required to take a former industrial site and turn it into a new 13 acre walkable-bikeable neighborhood connected to their downtown.   May it be the start of something even bigger for what may become the Lehigh Valley’s Mulligan Town.

 

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Mulligan Moments of 2016- Daughters Edition

Lots of talk this year about protecting our daughters from threats, both domestic and foreign.  I think about these quite frequently, as I have three daughters (and a tiny little granddaughter) in my own family.  I do have strong opinions about the poison that I believe is leaking into the way we relate to each other, but rather than amplify the horrifying rhetoric that divides us, I want to offer a few anecdotes of antidote.    Here are some Mulligan Moments of 2016 offered by friends of mine who have seen their daughters rise to the challenges they faced in their own lives — and who responded with grit and good old fashioned girl power.

We do need to protect our girls.  Not because they are helpless, but rather so that they can lead us.

Carry On  When an earthquake hit New Zealand a couple weeks ago, a National Outdoor Leadership School group was kayaking along the Clarence River, which soon started to fill with debris from rockslides.    The  group acted quickly to get themselves to higher ground and reduce the chances of being swept away by avalanches or the river itself, which ultimately did break through the dam holding it back.  The group of college students had to be air lifted out by helicopter.   In and of itself, that’s a great story with a  happy ending.   But here’s my favorite part: each student was given the option of cutting the rest of the outing short and returning home without penalty.  Keep in mind they’ve already been out on this expedition for about 2 months without as much as a call home.  Every single one stayed on and are now completing the trip as planned.  Among them is Paige Shetty, daughter of Lisa and Baba Shetty, who became dear friends of mine during graduate school at the University of Rochester.  Paige and her NOLS friends could have let the trauma of that experience, or the fear of the next potential calamity in the wilderness, force them into giving up on this adventure of a lifetime.  But they put aside both the brush with death and the future threats– and showed us how to make use of a Mulligan Moment.

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Build Up  Resolve is required, but it is not enough by itself.  When you are trying to overcome an injury, physical or emotional, it takes more than just wanting to be healthy and whole.  You have to want to do what it takes to become healthy and whole.   Like when you tear your ACL the day before you realize your dream of playing in your first college basketball game, like Meagan Eripret did last year.  But, according to her father Marc Eripret, Meagan did whatever it took to heal and build up her strength– day in and day out.  And now she’s off to a solid start with her Lehigh teammates in this year’s season.  Resolve plus hard work equals a Mulligan Moment.   I am sure she learned this when I coached Meagan (alongside Marc and her mom, Bridget Eripret) for many seasons of youth league basketball and soccer.  So now I can see her (#13 below) and say I coached a Division I player. I take complete and unwarranted credit for all her athletic accomplishments.

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Breathe Fire   Never underestimate the power of a teenage girl who is ready to fight.   Olivia Maniace showed us why this year, when she put together this video look at what she endures and overcomes in dealing with lungs compromised by cystic fibrosis.  I thank Lucy Sheelar-Gomez for bringing Olivia’s fight to my attention. And I thank Olivia for this Mulligan Moment and the reminder of what fighting the good fight really means.  My favorite part of the video is when she calls a piece of vital hospital equipment “annoying”.   This is a word my daughters use constantly.  Girls will be girls.   And thank God for that.

Mulligan Moments of 2016 – The End Is Near Edition

The key to a useful mulligan is leaving behind the circumstances that got you wherever you are. Whatever has passed may be important, but it is also no longer relevant. Neither is the impending doom that appears to be threatening you. Again, it may be important to know that’s out there, but it’s even more important to forget that it is — and act with bravery. For in that bravery, it is that amnesia that allows us to succeed in life as it happens.

Even when the end is near. Especially when the end is near. Here are a some well-known folks who faced the end and delivered the successes of a lifetime.  They are now forever enshrined among the Mulligan Moments of 2016.

David Bowie and Leonard Cohen Each of these music innovators recorded and released brilliant albums in the days leading up to their death.  Each had shared their lives with millions of us who followed their long, prodigious musical careers.  They each could have rested on their laurels and let the final days of their lives fill, and justifiably so, with looking back or obsessing about what lay ahead for them.  Instead, they gave us compelling witness to what it means to keep living, keep creating, keep making every shot count.   There was nothing the least bit wrong with what had gotten them to that point in their lives– it wasn’t that kind of mulligan they took.  It was the kind that simply and beautifully said, “That was then, This is now.  And now is all we have to give.”

 

 

 

Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Cubs  Both teams were down 3 games to 1 in their respective championship series.  Both could feel the breath slipping away on the dreams that have haunted their respective fans for ages. The Cavaliers had never won a NBA title and the Cubs hadn’t won a World Series in over 100 years.  Yet they both found out (as did their opponents) that the games that came before mattered– and yet they didn’t matter.   It mattered that they were only one loss from elimination, but it was also irrelevant to the next game.  Just go out and play . And win.  And they did. And did. And did.   They took care of what was in front of them, and the rest took care of itself.

 

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Mulligan Moments of the Year recognize the achievements (large and small), observations (grand and flippant) and contributions (tangible and ephemeral) of people, (famous, infamous, and unknown), that demonstrated the resolve, awareness, good intention and blind luck that occurs when you run like there’s no tomorrow and live like there’s no yesterday.  In short, someone who took a second chance and made it count.   Nominations are still being accepted via all my social media platforms, as follows:

I’m hiding in plain sight on:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook Group

Mulligan Moments of 2016: Olympic Edition

The Rio Olympics, the biggest stage in sports, is also the first scene of this year’s top Mulligan Moments of 2016.

These are athletes who made their mulligan count when no one was watching– in the immense work and drive it took for them to earn their way to Rio.

The Olympic Refugee Team Composed of 10 athletes who had to flee their native countries because of war and political turmoil, they epitomized what can happen when you stay focused on competing and getting better, rather than dwelling on life’s injustices.   Leading the contingent was Tegla Loroupe,  a former world class runner from Kenya.  According to Ollie Williams of CNN, Loroupe’s foundation held tryouts in Kenya’s Kakuma camp, near the border with Uganda and South Sudan, where five Olympians were identified, all of whom had been at the refugee camp for between 10 and 15 years.   They included Yiech Pur Biel (800m), James Chiengjiek, who fled South Sudan to avoid becoming a child soldier (400m), Paulo Lokoro (1,500m), Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, who came to Kakuma at the age of six and began running at one of the refugee camp’s schools (1,500m), and Rose Lokonyen (800m).

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Paul Amotun Lokoro and Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, orginally from South Sudan, took a mulligan on their hardships and turned it into a ticket to Rio to compete in track and field. (Photo: IOC)

 

The other Olympic Mulligan Moments were brought to our attention by Antoinette Muller of Daily Maverick.

Zahra Nemati A former black belt taekwondo competitor who was paralyzed in a car accident in 2003. Three years later she decided to take up archery and not only won gold medals in the Paralympics, but qualified for the 2016 Summer Games, where she competed for Iran.

Chris Mears, was given a five percent chance to live in 2009 after he ruptured his spleen, lost five pints of blood and was told it was unlikely he would ever dive again. He would later suffer a seven hour seizure and a three day coma. What did he do with his mulligan at the 2016 Games?  Win a gold medal in men’s synchronized 3m springboard for Great Britain.

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Need a mulligan? Take a jillion. Or at least two, like US Womens’ Rugby Sevens hero Jillion Potter, who overcame a broken neck and cancer to make it to Rio.

Jillion Potter proved that one mulligan isn’t always enough. When she was just 19, Potter broke her neck playing rugby.  Seven years later, she was won her way onto the Rugby Sevens World Cup team, then discovered a growth under her jaw that proved to be a soft tissue cancer.  Her grit and love of the game fueled her recovery and she used her mulligan to earn a spot on the U.S. Rugy Sevens team in Rio.

William Fox-Pitt competed in four other Olympics prior to Rio as an equestrian rider for Great Britain.  But he needed his mulligan this year most of all.  Ten months prior to the Games, he lay in a coma after a mishap in a cross-country horse race.  He came back to not only win a spot on the 2016 team, but actually lead the competition after the dressage portion of his event.

You can find Muller’s entire article here, including more on the refugee team.

Mulligan Moments of the Year recognize the achievements (large and small), observations (grand and flippant) and contributions (tangible and ephemeral) of people, (famous, infamous, and unknown), that demonstrated the resolve, awareness, good intention and blind luck that occurs when you run like there’s no tomorrow and live like there’s no yesterday.  In short, someone who took a second chance and made it count.   Nominations are still being accepted via all my social media platforms, as follows:

I’m hiding in plain sight on:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook Group