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Warwick Bear
Thursday 24th May 2012, Bermuda.
This was the 7th time I'd taken part in one of the world's oldest organised road races. The Bermuda Marathon Derby is over 100 years old and generates a fantastic atmosphere. The whole island turns out to celebrate and cheer on the fast, the fit, the fat and the downright stupid who choose to run 13 sweltering miles dressed in an array of weird and wonderful outfits.
I loved the cluster of sperms chasing an egg (just what is the collective noun for sperm?) but I think the bear was the bravest/craziest of all. What an amazing test of endurance. I was sure that he couldn't possibly make it to the finish line as the humidity was almost unbearable for me...and it must have been 100 times tougher for this fella.
As the heavens opened, I managed to grab some shelter and took the opportunity to conduct bit of research. Google really can be a wonderful thing. I found the bear's contact details and emailed an invite. It turns out that Ralph, as he known in real life, is a geography teacher at a local school with some smashing ideas for the Wearelucky money.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
I'm not sure what was my first thought but when I read the initial email I thought a combination of a) it sounded very generous b) I wondered how Wearelucky knew I was the bear / found my email c) I wondered what the catch was, I guess it says a lot about the modern cynical society that my first reaction was to be cautious about an act of generosity.
2. What have you decided to do with the money?
There were only two thoughts that came into my head with respect to what I should do. Since it was the bear that had received the money I did think about buying a new bear suit as this one is getting very old (it is threadbare in many places) and to land a new one in Bermuda with tax etc. is about 2000 dollars. However, we are hoping to get a company to sponsor a new suit. My other thought was to give a bursary of some form to a student who needed the money and this is what I've decided to do. I am going to give a 350th birthday spirit of Warwick Academy award to a student in Y12 going into their last year at school. The student needs to have exhibited school spirit throughout the year and be someone who could put the money to 'good' use with respect to their education. I have a fair idea who might receive the award and since they probably handed you a drink at one of the water stops during the race, it seems apt.
3. Is it better to make a small impact on a big problem or a big impact on a small problem?
I guess I could have put the money into the bursary fund which helps multiple students in need and thus I would have been using it to have a small impact on lots of people. What I did was to use it for one big impact on one person so I have probably answered this in my decision.
4. Do you feel that being involved is important to the giving process?
From an education point of view (I am a teacher after all) then the answer has to be yes. However, I am also a husband and father who has times of his life when he is very busy and it is nice to be able to abdicate responsibility sometimes. This is another really hard question, the correct answer would seem to be yes but am I a bad person for not always wanting to do so?
5. Why do you think we feel good about doing something for others?
Smiles are contagious. We all want to feel the world is a better place for us having been born and since we all do things that make others feel bad at times, I think we feel good every time we do something to balance the scales.