OKLAHOMA CITY —
Scores of athletes, in all different uniforms, and everybody else, and all at once, lined the home stretch like a parade. Noise built slowly to a roar. Some cried.
“I didn’t know they were going to do that,” Ahearn said of the PA announcement. “Whenever I came around that corner I saw everyone right there on the track and everybody in the stands was on their feet. That was pretty cool.”
If Ahearn had never seen anything like that before, he wasn’t the only one; and of all the things sports and life are about, seeing something you’ve never seen before must be high on the list.
Ahearn, ever cool, even had a joke ready when asked if anything was more than he expected.
“My time was certainly more than I expected,” he said.
The kid’s pretty amazing.
Perhaps all of us are more resilient than we ever hope to realize. Still, we can’t possibly be as well prepared to handle it as Ahearn.
“I’m sure in his private moments he may wonder why me or whatever, but he never seems to have a bad day,” said Barry Bogle, his stepfather. “With Patrick, what you see is what you get.”
His mother, Lisa Bogle, remembers a day when Ahearn, maybe trying to help her deal with his condition, said, “Look, this is me.”
“I think he’s taught us a lot of life lessons,” she said. “I think he teaches us something every day.”
The day before, asked to consider his plight, Ahearn was matter-of-fact and undeniably positive.
“It’s not really one of those things that you think about before it happens, so you don’t really know how you’ll handle it,” he said. “I’ve decided I don’t want it to get the best of me, I’m going to keep moving forward. I know it could have been a lot worse.”