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Passing The Baton



The relay race

I may have been the slowest child
to ever run in track and field
I was a foodie even then
with not the fastest set of wheels.

I still have the medal that I won
for finishing in second place.
Awarded to our relay team
In a two team relay race

I was the anchor (aptly named)
they could have called me ‘ball and chain’
The other three were none to spry
We were well matched those three and I.

By the time the baton reached my hand.
My competitor neared the Promised Land
I set out full steam (for me)
as he crossed the line to victory.

I gamely tried to speed in haste
for what I knew was second place
and I was genuinely surprised
when they gave medals to us guys.

I never after won a race
nor finished either show or place.
I prize the medal that I got.
If I was a horse, they’d have me shot.

John F. McCullagh


Watching a relay race is one of the most fascinating things ever, especially if it is the 100meters race.  High speed, very brisk, and the performance of a sprinter is determined by that of the predecessor.  A fast first leg set the pace for others.  If the first person messes up, then it is likely that the team loses.  The anchor- leg might try to cover up but it usually takes some super-performance to overcome a messed-up start.
In the same way, we pass the baton from one generation to another.  In fact, a child’s upbringing usually influences his or her future.  Mostly, parents pass on legacies that are usually very strong and difficult to outgrow.  Values that are inherited are lifelong values.  That is why, even if a child that is raised with very strong positive values messes up along the way, there is usually the tendency to revert back on those early integrated values.  The same way, most people who grow up with negative values might find acquiring positive values a lifelong struggle.
These thoughts came to me sometime last week when I made the decision to stop eating after 6pm every night.  You see, I sleep very late, almost every night.  This is more so when I have to study.  My healthy living habits usually stay focused suing the day.  However, when I study far beyond midnight, it is very, very, difficult to be healthy.  I find myself grazing at such unholy hours.  I find myself snacking on the wrong things.  Come to think of it, whether you are studying, watching movies, or enjoying a Sydney Sheldon….., it would be sacrilegious to eat a banana, apple, or cucumber!!!!  Ha, no way.  Such times closely sync with ice cream, cookies, chips, chocolate, and other unhealthy stuff.  They make the body merry and the brain to function.  Well, that is my opinion.
As pleasing as these snacks are to the mouth, they wreck havoc on the body.  I have known these for a long time and try abstain from them.  However, late at night, my craving usually overrides common sense and at this point, I mess up.  So finally, I found a solution.  Don’t eat at night!!!!  Yes, it is that simple.  Stop eating after 6pm.  As you read this you might think that I have gone crazy.  Well, you won’t be alone.  When I told the crew, they felt that I had absolutely gone wacko.  They, like so many of us, can’t imagine “zipping up” their mouth at 6pm.  It is absolutely impossible!!!!
No, I have not one crazy.  My mind is still as perfect as it can be, and my cranium content are functioning correctly.  The truth is that, I am only following in the footstep of my father.  My dad, as far back as I can remember, never eats late at night.  I actually grew up never seeing him eat late at night.  He usually has his last meal by seven or a little bit after.  This was his habit and it still is to-date.  It never occurred to me to imbibe it.  I never even considered it until recently.  Well, he has passed on the baton to me in a race that he started so well.  Healthy living is very important.  The onus is now on me to run a good race and pass on the baton to the generation next.
We take so many things for granted, especially our health.  We eat as if there is no tomorrow.  Most of the things we devour are absolutely unhealthy but do we care?  In our 9ja environment, we feel that eating all the wrong things is a sign of good living.  This is living in falsehood.  The truth is we do more harm than good with the orishirishi that we stuff ourselves with.  I remember a particular sickness that was called “Aisan olowo” in my native language.  It translates, literarily, as “Richman’s sickness”.  Why is it so?  It is simply because all the high cholesterol food can only be afforded by the very rich.  The very rich, in turn, stuff themselves with such foods, thinking that they are having the best of life.  Well, what more can I say?
As for me, 6pm is it.  That is the time to lose my alimentary canal for the day except, of course, to drink gallons of water.  I want to live long, like my grandmother and my parents. God helping me, I will do my best.  I will not willingly and knowingly curse harm to my body.  This is the baton that has been passed to me.  I will run a clean race and pass it on.  I won’t drop the baton.  Rather, I will run a swift, clearly planned, well paced race.  This is a generational legacy, one that must be continued.
I know some people might find this writing too serious for their liking.  Well, these are times for hard facts.  Next week, it would be a lil bit softer.  Until then, keep making good choices.


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