Posted by: morrowsl | May 7, 2015

You Wanna Fight?


Mits, Paula, and B – Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Sunday last my sister, niece, family friend and I woke with the sun and set out for an empty high school parking lot in Fort Worth for a volunteer gig.  I admit, volunteering isn’t something I do a lot of these days.  I flamed out on the idea completely after raising three kids.  But there was something about this particular event that just wouldn’t be ignored.  Our job for the day was to help man a rest stop for a charity bicycle ride.  The last rest stop.  In a long bike ride.
It was going to be one of those days when I was reminded, repeatedly, why volunteerism is the best window for viewing humanity.

We drove for what felt like forever, which it sorta is anytime you go to Fort Worth, technically Saginaw, for any reason.  It’s not really that far, it’s just that Fort Worth is so freaking BIG it should probably apply for statehood and get it over with.  And there’s always construction.  But anyway.  The GPS led us directly to the school and a parking lot so empty we actually drove around a bit to make sure we were in the right place.  But less than a nanosecond after pulling up and stopping to wait, a Penske truck pulled in and a guy in a Meat Fight t-shirt jumped out and we knew we were in the right place.

Meat Fight.  Oh, soooooo many good jokes there!  But Meat Fight is what’s it’s all about.

A number of years ago, a young woman we’ve known since grade school and her husband, had a friendly little backyard bbq competition amongst friends and family to see, once and for all, who cooked the best beef, pork, and sausage in all the land.  That competition, through the sheer energy of that founding pair and their families, has exploded into a mega fund-raising effort in support of Multiple Sclerosis.  Last year they raised $100,000.  From backyard to a warehouse filled with people and NAMES in five short years.

And up to this point I’ve been watching and admiring, but never getting much closer than, “That’s awesome!”, in a Facebook comment.  So…

In less than ten minutes, there were cars pulling in and people piling out and trucks opening and stuff going everywhere.  Easy-Ups and tables, Gatorade in the big thermoses, ice chests full of ice and water and sodas, and pickle pops (I know, but they swear the sodium and potassium are so good for you), first aids and banners, and BIG Meat Fight signs, and a mountain of ice already beginning to drip.  And the best popsicles I’ve ever wrapped my lips around!
We were told the first riders could show up as early as 10:00 am.  That wasn’t too far off the mark.  In less time than it seemed possible, three cyclists topped the hill and made the hard right into the parking lot.  Initially I thought they must be crazy fast.  And they likely were.  But they were also crazy smart.  The day was going to be nearly cloudless and, in spite of a continuous cool breeze, pretty warm.

After that, the riders seemed to trickle in, one and two at a time, and the day seemed to begin to drag.  I had my camera with me most of the day and got pretty caught up in all the wonderful colors and designs and gear the modern-day cyclists wear.  As the morning moved on, I joined my family out on the street to help cheer on the riders as they coasted into the rest stop.
When I finally turned to look back at the rest stop again, it was like a small city!  There were people and bikes everywhere.  I made my way to the outside of the circle and switched to a zoom lens.  And suddenly the real race was right there, eye-to-eye.
Sweat and fatigue, aches and irritations, mental and muscular lapses.  The sun was shining down onto the asphalt throwing heat back up into the faces of the riders.  I could hear Alice working the crowd, “Lemonade strawberry popscicle?  All the cool kids are doing it!”, and few could resist.  Riders were stretched out on the grass, arms across their faces, catching their breath and most likely doing the mental checklist of all the race had taken out of them already.

There were just a skosh over thirteen miles between the last rest stop and the finish line.  Our rest stop sat in the valley of two small hills, one to ride down coming in and one to ride up going out.  After all they’d accomplished to get to this point, one or two more hills might seem like cake.  But after 150 miles on those skinny little bike seats, bent over the handlebars, legs pumping and butt cramping, I figure that hill looked kinda like Everest.  Or it would to me.
I found a totally new admiration for cyclists.
And not a small amount of pride in what had been accomplished to make them as comfortable and supported as possible.

To the Meat Fight team, Alice and Mike Laussade, Celeste and Mike Casey, Cathy and Jim Casey, I applaud your incredible talent, your unquenchable energy, and your amazing drive.  Thank you for letting me be a small part of your VERY big deal!
And to Mits, Paula, and B, thanks for taking me along and making it such a fun day!
And finally, to all those who are battling MS now, don’t give up, don’t give in, be encouraged!!

SONY DSC               Funds raised for the weekend: $123, 539.63


  1. […] in the spring I agreed to join my sister, niece, and a family friend as volunteers for a bike ride (You Wanna Fight?) sponsored by Sam’s Clubs and benefiting Multiple Sclerosis.  We knew a couple of riders on […]

  2. […] a rest stop at the end of the route on the second day.  I wrote about that experience here, You Wanna Fight?, so I’ll just add that, in the years since that first rest stop, much has changed.  With the […]

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