Sunday, July 6, 2008
Back in the day, I ran on my high school's track team. I competed in a bunch of different events, from the short sprints to several field events. I loved the mental aspect of running, how it was just you out there, running against the clock. Our coach reminded us over and over that until the district meet, we were merely running against the clock, not against our other competitors. See, we were a small school, and we ran in the big meets. So if we worried too much on our place, it would be hard to find the motivation to stay competitive. Instead, our coach kept telling us that we were competing against our personal bests. As a result, many times I'd be ecstatic after running a new personal best, even though I was 4th or 5th overall.
My time on the track team taught me a lot about competing, and a lot about life. Track's mainly an individual sport, but there's the team aspect too, and if you don't train and run well, you end up hurting the team. Track taught me in concrete terms what discipline is, what commitment is all about, and how to take joy in the simple things.
And now we're only a month or so away from the Olympic games. I can hardly wait to watch all the different competitions. There's always something special about watching the olympics, and it doesn't even matter what you're watching. I would never choose to watch gymnastics, diving, or swimming races on a regular day, but because its the Olympics, these events transform into something more exciting, more dramatic. Maybe it's because there's so much riding on each performance. Maybe it's the knowledge that every competitor has trained their whole life for those few simple moments. Whatever it is, it's incredible to watch.
I can't wait.