Wednesday, April 22, 2009

small things, big lessons


You know what makes competing overseas such an enjoyable experience? Having fans. It is such a different experience from the meets we have in the states where track and field is not such a popular sport and where the athletes aren’t really admired in the same way. I remember my first encounter in Europe after a meet where people came up to me asking for autographs and pictures. So this is what Kobe feels like! Wow. I loved it…loved the idea of people being so interested and captivated by us and what we do. I can’t imagine ever not wanting to put my name on piece of paper or the back of someone’s shirt if they wanted it. If that means something to you, I’m honored.

This past weekend in Africa, the people were great. They cheered loudly and had the most infectious energy. Many of them wanted to take pictures with us, albeit with our cameras. They don’t have cameras of their own, but they would ask for pictures to be taken on our personal cameras with them. It was quite endearing. Not many asked for autographs but one adorable little boy did ask for my flowers after I won the 200 and I was happy to hand them over, thinking in my head that perhaps he would present them to his mother later that evening or maybe even to a special young lady he fancied.

But these kids surprised many of us by asking for something we hardly ever get requests for. They wanted our water bottles. And in a few cases, our power bars that were half eaten. Even typing that now brings tears to my eyes. I go through water bottles at track meets like they are going out of style. If I have one and set it down somewhere, it’s probably easier to just pick up a new one because who knows which one is actually mine. After our race they handed out liter bottles and I would take a few sips and get annoyed they had such large bottles for us to carry around. That is, until a little boy asked for some of my water, took a sip, passed it to his friend to have some, and then tried to hand it back to me. I tried to tell him he could have it but my English and his French were not matching up. Finally he understood and skipped off happily with my partly used water bottle. I then went over to where they were storing the water for the athletes and stuffed as many as I could in my bag and just kept one out to walk around with until someone would ask me for one.

Sometimes life teaches you important lessons in the smallest of ways.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few questions for you:

1.) How much is the prize money for winning the 200? How does this amount compare with USA events? Does 2'nd and 3'rd place get any money?

2.) Is there a website a person can go see video of you running at this event? What was the name of the event if someone wants to google it?

3.) When and where is your next event?

4.) In a previous blog you said that the Africa meet counted for points or something. Since you didn't jump, do the points for winning the 200 count to anything?

5.) If the 200 isn't your best event, how did you win? Maybe the 200 is your best event and you don't know it? What was your time?

6.) Since you weren't officially planned in the event for the 200, and crashed the race, will you get credit for winning it? Or will Jane Doe in lane #2 get the credit?

Thanks!

Inquiring Mind

brit brat said...

I thought that was a wonderful story

Rashad Grigsby said...

I read your blog nearly everyday and stay highly entertained, but I chose to comment today because this story is one that many athletes may have overlooked. I find myself sometimes overlooking the larger scope that track and field harbors in my own life. Granted I've never traveled outside of the country for a meet of my own your blog makes me realize that I make a difference everyday. This story brings to mind just being on the track going through my hurdle drills or running a 350 and having high school or middle school athletes look on in awe. Its shocking because even tho my dream is to one day travel the world and run competitively, that may not become a reality. But just as easily as that can be said one of those young onlookers may take on my challenge and succeed.You're a great athlete but more so a great woman, you have taken a talent and literally run with it and it allows your kind-heart and humility to shine throughout the world.But enough sappy stuff lol Kongrats on your Win!

Anonymous said...

That story underscores the importance of travelling,being well-rounded, open to new experiences, and other walks of life.

#2

erin said...

What a great story! I would do the same exact thing!

Jasmine said...

I love you. Very, very much.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I teared up as I was reading this wonderful blogpost. What a wonderful story. Makes us realize how much we take for granted over here. Job well done... I'd have done the same thing.
Chanel

Brianna said...

Thanks for the good feedback you guys. I'm glad it touched you like it touched me.

Brianna said...

Inquiring mind...that's a lot of questions.

*most meets have their own prize structure and varies from event to event and goes down at least a few places. this one went down all 8 places so everybody made at least some pocket change.

*i don't think there is video, but if you find some let me know. I believe the name of it is Dakar Grand Prix.

*My next event is on May 9th in Osaka.

*Grand Prix, Super grand Prix, and Golden League meets have a point system based on how you place. At the end of the year the Grand Prix Final (or whatever they are calling it now) is attended by the 8 athletes that have the most points. (cummulative of your best 5 meets). so getting into these top meets and finishing well is very helpful. I get points for the 200 race but I probably wouldn't run enough of them in a season to find a way to get enough points to do that event.

*In the official results its my name so I do get credit. I don't train as much for the 200 anymore so that's why I don't consider it my main event. In college it was more so and I was NCAA champion way back when but now I rarely run it. My time was 23.13, which is not outstanding but just happened to be better than the other 7 ladies in the race.

Anonymous said...

These are the following people who would have been looking at your back in the 2008 Olympics in the Womens 200 Meter in the Preliminary, Semi's, and Finals:

Cuba Roxana Diaz 23.12
Russia Aleksandra Fedoriva 23.22
Romania Ionela Tirlea 23.22
Brazil Evelyn dos Santos 23.35
Virgin Islands Laverne Jones 23.37
Russia Aleksandra Fedoriva 23.04
Nigeria Oludamola Osayomi 23.27
Colombia Darlenys Obregon 23.40
Bulgaria Inna Eftimova 23.48
Ukraine Nataliia Pygyda 23.03
Mali Kadiatou Camara 23.06
Canada Adrienne Power 23.51
Italy Vincenza Cali' 23.56
Bahamas Sheniqua Ferguson 23.61
Bulgaria Ivet Lalova 23.15
Saint Kitts Virgilm Hodge 23.17
Russia Natalia Rusakova 23.28
Cyprus Eleni Artymata 23.77
Grenada Allison George 23.77

I gave you the benefit of the doubt of a few hundred's thousanths of a second on a few because in the Olympics the adrenaline is pumping and you would have done even better! Not to mention you didn't train for the 200M. But if you did......... who knows! The thing about the 200 which is great for you, is that you don't give a shit about it. You just relax and run that fabulous ass off and the results are easy for you! Don't give a shit, run the 200 and you win! Isn't life easy!

You obviously have world class Olympic 200M speed when you don't train for it. What would happen if you did train for it? 21.73! 21.74 won the gold! Your not too far off.

It can be done if you believe.

Inquiring Mind

homegirl said...

Wow! You're my SHERO!! Sitting here imagining being so happy for water someone has just sipped and given to you.... man! And to admire someone so much to want a picture with them with their camera??
You tryin' to make me cry all week?
:-)

Jon Lustig said...

The simple fact that you would right a post like this one is proof that you deserve the admiration you describe, and infinitely more than that which you receive at home.
Unfortunately, I was one of many Canadian kids I'm sure who grew up totally unprepared to accept the idea of track & field athletes as role models (I won't go into the history here, either you know it or you don't). It took me a very long time to change my mind about that, but I'm glad that I did.

Anonymous said...

the hop indians have said that there are 4 peoples of the earth and that we are all responsible for something: 1. the white man-fire 2. the red man - the land 3. the yellow man-wind 4. the black man-water! maybe you can start a program in which you get water bottles add filters(carbon) and send them to a place in west africa-a place in which all black americans are from-well thats what our genetic gene pool says along with europe-(skip gates, harvard university)-think of all the track meets in a year all over the world--just 100 bottles a year would save not only kids but entire families.
joe p. vegas/dc-better yet used bottles from where you live now-usoc train/facility

natasha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Erin Michell said...

Good post....definitely shows your humility and willingness to help others when presented the opportunity. Sometimes we focus too much on the "big" things and goals in our lives that we forget to appreciate the little ones or little moments.