By Oshin Edralin
Gladiator Rock and Run is my first ever community service event with AGS, and boy did I enjoy my time there! When I got there, I immediately noticed the jovial atmosphere of the marathoners, all muddy, taking a communal shower in front of the famous Rose Bowl.
Although they were tired, I could sense their contentment after having completed a 10-k marathon. I thought to myself, how can I help the runners? What can I do for them? I was assigned just the perfect job for that, which involved pointing runners to the right direction and a whole lot of screaming.
I was a cross between traffic aid and cheer-leader that day. My post was inside Rose Bowl (yes I stepped on the grass), at the very last set of stairs, so I made it a point to be very loud and encouraging. Running up and down the football stands can be very challenging, and dangerous; some walked, skipped stairs, at one point I offered my water to an asthmatic runner, and the scariest part, when a runner almost fainted. Her team-mate and I rushed to her aid and found her as pale as paper, slowly losing consciousness. We alerted the medic and everything was taken care of from then, but wow, was that ever an experience for me.
In my own way, I found motivation to be the best help I could give, as it played a great deal in keeping their spirits up. I enjoyed high fiving the runners, screaming “no more stairs after this, yay!”, and the teamwork with other volunteers. In the end I almost lost my voice, but I felt I was a part of the marathon too. Little did I expect to gain much sense of self-fulfillment after such a simple job.
As an International Student, coming here is one big expedition for me. A part of what makes it enjoyable is seeing different landmarks, experiencing the American culture and being involved in the community (and AGS!) in events such as this. I look forward to even more exciting ones in the future.