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My version of crew training

Written by on August 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Wow! Only a month until the MS Challenge Walk. I better start doing some training.

Crew training, that is. There's the official training session that the chapter just held, but I'm referring to the training that we all do on our own. Here's how I recommend my fellow crew members prepare for the big event:

  1. Rest your vocal cords for the next month. Keep talking to an absolute minimum, because you are going to need all your cheering volume when the walk rolls around in September.
  2. Toughen your hands by practicing clapping for extended periods of time. Otherwise, your hands will be stinging shortly after you start on the first day, and you will have no feeling in them by the end of the weekend.
  3. Give up all pretenses of dignity as you prepare your outfits for the themed rest stops (when I think of some of the things I have worn).
  4. Make sure you know what poison ivy looks like (I have sat in it twice now). The pink calamine lotion doesn't look good on anyone.
  5. Make sure you practice your picture-taking skills and that you're on the right side of the camera when #3–4 happen.
  6. Prepare to have a great weekend!

Jill lives in East Taunton with her husband and a very annoying cat. She was diagnosed with MS in 1998 when she was 24. She has been participating in the Challenge Walk since the beginning as a crew member and can also be found at many other fundraising events.

Zis boom bah!

Written by on September 7, 2009 at 1:45 pm

You've been walking for 19 miles — which is probably nineteen times farther then you've ever walked in your life. You hot, you're tired, your hungry, you're thirsty, and you desperately need a massage. The Cape Cod Rail Trail seems to extend indefinitely… but off in the distance, what's that you hear? Is that cheering? And not just an occasional holler, but constant and consistent hoots, applause, and merrymaking. Who could they be cheering for?

You turn the corner… and tears start streaming down your face. All the cheering? It's for you.

We walkers think we have it tough, walking 50 miles in three days. But at least we can admit it and grumble about it. The crew somehow finds the energy to be optimistic, enthusiastic, and encouraging all day long. They wear goofy costumes, employ noisy noisemakers, and never budge from either their position or disposition. They do it for the walkers, because they know sometimes what we need to keep going can't be found in a bottle of Gatorade.

If you need help in your quest to free the world from MS, the crew is there to help you, whether they be familiar faces or new ones. And if you cross the finish line and find yourself with a reserve of energy, consider giving back:return to the finish line and cheer the folks who come in after you. You needed that boost, and they might, too.

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

Crew training — no, not the training you are thinking of

Written by on June 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

The Challenge Walk is only three months away, which means it's time to be training. But crew training is so different from walker training. For crew, now is the time we come up with our themes for the rest stops — the wackier the better for my crew!

We need to be inventive in how to keep the walkers entertained and give them a few smiles as they go through our rest stop. Who knows what costumes we'll get for this year? Over the years, I have been a pirate, a leprechaun, a Jedi Knight, an evil clown, and the world's largest Munchkin, to name a few. With the little bit of rain we got last year, my Jedi Knight costume, complete with bright yellow Wellington boots, looked more like the Gordon fisherman. I didn't look very professional in any of these costumes — but that wasn't the point. The point was to make the walkers comfortable and happy!

I'll soon be looking through the huge tote of costumes that I have been accumulating and see what I can pull out. After I've made my selections, my luggage will be about four times as much as any walker brings. How else would I fit in a military-sized squirt gun, Wellington boots, cowboy hat, and who knows what else? I'm hoping that someday, my appearance will be that of a person cured of MS — but that it won't be a costume, it will be the real me. That will be one costume that I will be happy to wear for the rest of my life.

Jill lives in East Taunton with her husband and a very annoying cat. She was diagnosed with MS in 1998 when she was 24. She has been participating in the Challenge Walk since the beginning as a crew member and can also be found at many other fundraising events.