Sonora Photographer | Foothill Gold in Mammoth | Christine Dibble Photography
A couple of my kids and I have been involved with Foothill Gold, a local running club, for a few years now. It is a group of very talented and very dedicated young runners. Each summer, they spend time in Mammoth Lakes, training at elevation and just having fun. This year, ten kids stayed for three weeks in a tiny condo with three to four adults, and two college students. The daily routine went like this: get up, run, ice in the creek, eat, swim or bike or whatever until the evening run, ice in the creek, eat, sleep. Putting that many people who are all driven and competitive in such tight quarters for so long could have been disasterous, but this group is different. No one argued. No one got tired of anyone else. They never stopped having fun and working together. We all marveled daily at how great this whole group was. Then, halfway into the stay, tragedy struck. The dad of one of our runners, who ran with us and was considered a teammate himself, was in a plane crash the night before he was to come up to Mammoth for a few days. The crash took the lives of four of the family members of one of the boys up there with us. We had to know for hours before we were allowed to say anything. And then we had to give him the news. It was the worst night ever. Yet, in the middle of it all, it was again very evident that this was no ordinary group of kids. They all cried together. They gave group hugs together. They let everyone grieve in their own way. They all agreed they wanted to stay for the rest of the scheduled trip, and they all worked through it as a team. When someone couldn’t sleep, the others stayed up to talk or just be there. They all stepped in where there was a need without being asked, and they did it happily. We have always said this is not a team, it is a family, and my kids and I are so lucky to be a part of it. One night I told everyone they were putting on the best clothes they had with them and going out for some photos because I couldn’t stand the thought of missing the opportunity for anyone else. Even though they were still in the early days of grief, it is evident that they really make each other smile!