Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com

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Roger Marolt: Roger This

This is the eighth year in a row I’ve written about the Hike for Hope. It’s the annual community hike to raise money and awareness for the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the, as of right now, incurable killer of children, mostly boys, that steadily contrives to completely deteriorate every muscle in their young bodies before they reach adulthood. The event is at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 15 at the base of Buttermilk. I hope you are there. If you are like a lot of people around here, you could probably use it.

Let me back up a little. After all these years writing about the Hike, I was finally looking forward to writing about an incredible breakthrough. You see, Ian Sharpe is a senior at Aspen High School. My daughter is in the same class, so I get to see him fairly often. The thing is, you would never guess he has Duchenne. He looks great. He’s fit and trim and carries about him a heaping load of the uncontainable enthusiasm for the future that kids preparing to take off on their own should. I saw his dad, Bob, at the post office the other day and was preparing myself for the best. This is surely the year I will write about a miracle, I thought.

It still might be, but sadly not this week. I have to be a little more patient to get confirmation of it. Yes, Ian looks great and is getting after his life at full throttle, but the disease is still at work in his body. Part of him getting long and lean is due to its deleterious effects and not the normal growth hormones flooding the veins of a teenager.

“I was hoping to talk about miracles in the paper this Friday,” I told him dejectedly. “I’m stuck for a theme now.”

“How about frustration?” He smiled matter-of-factly without lacking a bit of the optimism I have seen in him and his family throughout these difficult years. “I think a lot of people around here can relate to that now. You can start with the lack of snow.”

I didn’t even have to think about it. He was right. Almost everyone is frustrated with the skiing conditions right now. The holiday bonanza is past us. Now we have to deal with the rest of a winter that has yet to produce much snow. That brings worry to everyone who makes a living here. This was a season that started out with so much promise, too. It’s hard to believe that the lifts opened a week early because conditions were so great in mid-November.

Then, the news about our local real estate market also disappointed many this week. Remember the first half of 2011? Property was moving again. It looked like we had finally cleared the valley of the devastating Great Recession and were heading back to higher ground. Then we got the news that sales in the second half fell off a cliff and we ended up flat for another poor year.

On the bottom of this, after a promising start, the stock markets ended up making no progress for the year as didn’t our political “leaders” in Washington, sans the promising start. The European governments are deadlocked in ineptitude and dealing with their debt crises. Employment won’t rise, and gas prices won’t fall. The Rockies were the best team in baseball in April and ended up looking like they were playing soccer in September. The Broncos made the playoffs for the first time in seven years … and finished the regular season on a pathetic three-game losing streak. You get the point: There is plenty to be frustrated about.

The thing is, though, without frustration to begin with, there can be no hope. Without hope, life is about as rich as hot chocolate on the rocks. I’m guessing collectively we must have tons of hope in this town right now. Let’s bring it all together next Sunday morning for a huge sorta vibrant, moving group hug where you don’t have to touch anyone unless you want to. It’ll feel good either way, I promise.

The Hike for Hope is about hope. It doesn’t discriminate against any kind of hope. Yes, the money raised goes to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but the concerns we can cover are limitless. Bob’s wife, Carol, has been trying to drive this theme home with me for years – the Hike for Hope is not about any single person. I didn’t really get that until now. The Hike for Hope is about all of us together with one another!

Next Sunday morning you can pray, meditate, talk or deal with your hopes any way you are comfortable with. Whatever, we’ll do it together as a community marching step by step up Buttermilk Mountain. There is strength in numbers. Few are strong enough to convert hope into change and comfort all alone. And, even if you can, it’s not as much fun as working together.

The thing about miracles is that while they definitely happen all the time and accomplish their purposes quickly when they do, they usually come when you least expect them. Don’t ever forget that.