I have recently become very passionate about the sport of running. In the past every sport I’ve tried, I’ve never been the best at. I've played almost every sport imaginable, from dancing, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, competitive cheerleading, horseback riding, lacrosse, swimming, and now to running cross country and track. I've always just been the one on the team who did nothing and was in all honesty just there to observe. Don't get me wrong I've always tried as hard as I could, but never succeeded. My junior year of high school one of my friends came to me and asked if I would join the cross country team. I looked at her as if she were actually going insane. At the time I could barely run a half mile, and probably would have cried at the idea of running five
When I was only eight years old my mom and dad made me join a track team called Lighting Links. I was furious because I hated running, I was scared I wouldn't make any friends, and I really really hated running. For me, running was like throwing away your favorite candy for no reason. I would just use up all of my energy and get no benefits from it, well at least that is what I thought.
I had always assumed that my legs were strong and that I had decent muscle control, however, this thought was proven wrong at the beginning of my junior year in high school due to a detrimental injury. It was the first game of fall league for basketball, and within the first five minutes I had succumbed to an injury. Tearing my ACL and Meniscus has taught me to continue improving on my strength, not let this one injury keep me down, and to keep a positive mindset.
In elementary school I had stopped playing soccer because I hated running and I was unwilling to play any other sport my parents would ask me to try. Basketball and baseball seemed to have too many rules and were too complicated for me. At the end of the school year we would always get a flyer to join the Haymaker Swim Team. I hated this flyer because my mom would ask me every year to join the team and every year I said no. I was too nervous and unsure about joining a team with new people and experiences.
My love of sports led me to playing soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball. I was on the JV Softball and Basketball teams for two years, and the Varsity Tennis Team for three years. During basketball, my sophomore year, I learned I had a splayed pelvis with a bone missing that supported my back. It was very painful. My spine surgeon encouraged me to quit sports, telling me physical therapy would be difficult, and at best, would only allow me to continue with one sport. I went to physical therapy; it was extremely difficult, but made my back strong enough to play tennis. My senior year I was the Varsity Team Captain and placed fifth on the singles
In addition to everything that happened prior to my high school years, my freshman year was one, if not, my most memorable when it comes to sports. Track may have been my only sport in high school but I took a great deal or pride and passion in what I was doing and the team I was on, felt like another family. We had a track meet in Eudora, Kansas, and I was on the four by one team relay, which is four people that each run a 100 meter dash and pass off a baton. I was the anchor of the team and we were in first place in the event. When I got the
Hearing the pop of my knee was the last sound I wanted to hear while kicking a soccer ball during tryouts junior year. I fell straight to the ground, and knew instantly something was terribly wrong. To this day, I recall how heartbroken I was when I heard the news that I tore my ACL, and I never thought it could happen to me. Just the thought of not playing sports that year was emotionally difficult because sports have always been a part of my life. I could not imagine a year without participating in athletics, however at the time I did not know it could have a positive impact on me.
I found my love for athletic activity at a young age. When I was 7 years old, I was enrolled in a YMCA summer program in Michigan. That is where it all started. My summer days were filled with various sport activities. Unfortunately, when I moved to California at the age of 10, I stopped playing sports for at least a year. However, during the rest of elementary school, throughout middle school, and in high school, I played different sports to figure out which one I liked best, which is now, Track & Field.
As a track runner, it is a necessity to be relaxed yet focused and determined. When I participate in track meets or even at practices, I receive a comforting warmth just by stepping onto the track. I feel as though burdens and worries temporarily lift from my shoulders. One may wonder how this can make someone content with their surroundings instead of nervous and uneasy based upon their environment and luckily for me this is an uncomplicated notion to explain. Unlike particular people, the track calms me and gives me a place to clear my head. I work relentlessly to achieve my goals, nevertheless it also gives me the clearance and space I need to effectively work my hardest whether it be a physical goal I am working to achieve
All throughout history people have been made to feel less than because the color of their skin. I encountered this all throughout high school running track. Track consists mainly of African Americans while a small portion consists of Caucasians for sprinting and field events. My high school coach was named Coach Lucas and he was African American. He constantly told me I wouldn’t be able to do well or that I should find a different sport because track is not a white woman’s sport. He also degraded me when I would do well at track meets by always saying I won because I got lucky and the other kids just had a bad day running.
Cross country is a sport for the dreamers. This fact becomes abundantly clear once setting foot out on the course. The atmosphere created by this determination and drive is palpable. A defining difference that separates cross country from other team sports is the lack of ill will towards other teams, rivalries are present but they provide for a greater sense of competition between schools. When looking up sportsmanship in the dictionary it says “refer to cross country”. What creates such a friendly environment that many other sports seem to lack? It all goes back to the shared goal, to finish.
It was a perfect night for a run. Around 70 degrees with a slight breeze. I wait in my Dark Blue Mini Cooper as my watch gets my location. Feet trembling with adrenaline, much like an addict, I’m itching for a run. With a loud “BEEP,” I know the smartwatch is ready and I’m off. As time progresses, I start running faster, faster, and faster. The whispering wind would flow through my hair as I make my way down the trail. Bliss. I notice my surroundings, trees, deer, and the bright light of my headlamp. Chills go up my spine every so often. All I hear is the pitter pattering of my red running shoes and the occasional rustle of bushes. After what feels like the shortest moment ever, my half-hour run is over and I sigh with relief.
As the sun’s nutritious rays fuel my body; sweat races down my back and accumulates into the threads of my cotton t-shirt. I peer over my neighborhood park fence and gaze over the spacious scenery. The track field was well in shape, free of small debris and ready for a test run and light jump activities in the sand-pit. Soon enough the high temperature fills my head, leaving me in a state of allusion. Images of my friends and I sporadically unfold in front of me and unto the track; as if being placed in a desert mirage. I feel a sense of peace and eagerness surge through my body, while the images continue to appear. Then, a whisper comes into the mix saying some sort of gibberish. Stepping a bit more cautiously then I regularly would I walked
A personal experience I have went through in my life would be making it to districts in track and field my sophomore year of high school. Making it to districts was a big accomplishment for me and my teammates because track is something that I take a lot of my time to focus on and do multiple hours of training so I am able to compete with the other athletes. I come from a small town in Ohio called Oak Hill. The sport track and field is something you do not hear that much about because our high school is not very big and very few athletes actually run track to make it somewhat far in competition, so for my 4x1 team to make it to regionals was a big deal for me considering it is something that does not happen that often at my local high school.
Cross country is a sport that can change the way people see themselves. I can only say this statement because I have been affected by this myself. During this satisfying sport I would constantly find myself lost in the moment. Not realizing how much this sport has meant to myself. Now that I have seen just about everything this sport has to offer I can relive some of the valuable life lessons that cross country has taught me.