LAS VEGAS — Seconds before I was to start the first quarter-mile leg of a relay, one of my Boot Camp for Cancer teammates saw my Arizona baseball cap and asked incredulously, “Is that a U of A cap?”
The race started before I could say, “Yes”. I turned toward the course, looked back quick enough to nod yes, and darted away as quick as I could. I must have started slow because I could still hear her say, “I went to ASU.”
That only added more fuel to my desire to start our relay strong last Saturday morning at the Las Vegas Athletic Club. At that moment, I was not only participating in the spirit of my father Hector A. Morales Jr., who passed away in March 2010 away after a decade-long bout with lymphoma. I had to represent the UA the best I could with a Sun Devil looking on, observing how I would start our relay.
Although in the best shape of my life — thanks mostly to a regular routine of cardiovascular and muscle training — I am by no means a runner. I kept up as best I could, but two female runners, who obviously ran daily as part of their fitness regimen, passed me by before we touched hands with the next runner in the relay. My ego was not totally bruised — two other runners didn’t make it to the relay point until after I finished.
More importantly, the woman who was an ASU alum on our team gave me a high-five after I completed my run as if I set a world record. When it comes to raising money for a worthy cause that impacts our society, allegiances such as those for UA and ASU rightfully take a back seat. Throughout the two-hour event, nobody was separated by school allegiances, religion, political beliefs, or even if we liked Tim Tebow or not.