Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you!

Me before I became a runner (Artists rendition)
I came across Sarah Stanley's post about the Obama administrations efforts to make children healthy and after seeing reactions to the post on my Facebook, I was inspired to write. You see, I don't see anything wrong with the government 'intruding' in our lives to make our lives better. This administration has good intentions, and that's good enough for me. I am living proof that the government's focus on fitness really works. Let me share my tale!
C.R.A.P. and Totally B.S. org chart.
Three years ago I was an out of shape dad. My two year old daughter ran rings around me in the backyard, leaving me winded, wheezing and exhausted. Mowing my lawn was was torturous and my exercise consisted of me walking to and from computers, one at home, one at work. Then - the government intervened! I saw a TV commercial from the Department Of  America The Beautiful showcasing their Totally Beat Slovenliness program. This new federal agency dedicated to beautifying America combined with the Totally BS program were two fronts on the war to look awesome. Other programs included Worship The Food (a pro food group, which sent counselors to prop up participants self esteem no matter what their level of fitness) to the Community Restoring Appearances Plus initiative, which gave plastic surgeons much needed jobs in this tough economy and offered participants a quick and easy plastic surgery weight loss option.  Neither of those spoke to me, so I called the 800 # and waited to hear back from the government.

Mike - my case worker. Here he rests after a grueling morning of work.
Two months after that call my case worker pulled up in his new state issued Prius to go over options with me, I glanced at his laptop and something caught my eye. "Couch to 5k? What's that?" I questioned. "Err that's one of our new programs but I must warn you, it's not as effective or speedy as C.R.A.P. or Totally B.S. " he responded. Undaunted, I urged him to sign me up and he was right, it wasn't fast at all! It took weeks for me to get to the point where I could run three miles without stopping, it was also expensive, painful, and difficult. Thankfully, DATB helped me every step of the way! They supplied me with new shoes courtesy of their voucher program. They had another case worker show up to coach me, yet another gave me encouragement in the morning when it was cold and didn't want to run, and still another supplied with me all the necessary funding for things like race registration, technical shirts, bodyglide, etc. When I finally ran that first 5k,  it was not just a testament to ME, but a testament to the can do spirit of the government! All 13 union case workers, supervisors, managers, administrators and facilitators braved the chill morning air (and collected double overtime) that fateful Sunday morning to cheer me on. I'll never forget the elation and happiness when I crossed that finish line. I received brochures, mousepads, pens, and even a foam finger from each of my helpful public servants.  I, err I mean WE did it! As I saw more finishers cross the finish line to the cheers of their case workers in the stands, my eyes teared with emotion. Today, as I see our country embarking on another crusade to help people pick apples over candy bars, I tear up again. Somewhere, some case worker will help a citizen make the right choice, somewhere, someone will fill out a form 1013-B Sub Section A (assistance in avoiding soda) and maybe someday those people will run a race, not by themselves, but with the help of their extended family. God bless you for reading and God bless America!