Team bonds extend beyond finish lines

By: Hannah Sanderman

Palms sweaty, heart racing I begin to prepare for my race. As I lace up my spikes, my teammates give me pep talks and speak encouraging words. Coach Don walks over, pats me on the back, says, “Have a great race,” and we high five. The JV team huddles, thanking God for the beautiful day, the ability to run, and we end with the usual pre-race cheer. By the time I’m standing next to my team at the start line, any nerves I had are gone.

I joined cross country my sophomore year and nervous was an understatement about how I felt when I started. Never being on a sports team before, athlete wasn’t a word I used to describe myself.

“Just try it for a week and if you don’t like it at least you’ll know,” I remember my dad telling me. Now I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with cross country. I might not love the 600 repeats or hill workouts, but when I complete them I can definitely call myself an athlete.

During my three years of cross country, I’ve only run one varsity race, and I’m not even close to being the best girl on the team, but none of that matters to me. Your teammates provide you with neverending support. No matter how fast you are, your team will be cheering you on and wanting you to do your best.

Irreplaceable friendships and the feeling of accomplishment are the reasons why I’ve stayed in cross country.

The people I’ve met in cross country, whether it be on the girls or guys team, are very down to earth, caring, amazing human beings. Outside of practice, these people have made my high school experience an unforgettable one.

Crossing the finish line gives me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment always accompanied with relief and fatigue. All the work that I put in during practice finally pays off. Whether I feel amazing or awful about my race, my teammates always lift me up, congratulate me or say that everything is going to be OK.

Even though my final season is starting to wrap up, I’m going to enjoy every last second of it. I will never forget my three years of cross country. CFXC, you will always have a special place in my heart.

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