The Cross Country Meet
After we stretched, Coach Mulrooney called the varsity cross-country squad away from the rest of team. It was strange because he had never done this before, so we knew it wasn’t good. All of us just had the worst race of our careers, and the previous two races we did poorly. Each week we tried to get better, but it just wasn’t paying off.
“What happened out there?” asked Coach Mulrooney.
Silence. No one wanted to speak in fear that the coaches would turn on them.
“We want to hear what you guys thought of the race before coach and I say our part,” said Coach Razor.
We went around the circle, and each athlete said how they felt, and what they thought could’ve been done better. After we were all done, the coaches went.
They said we were underachievers, mentally weak, and our goals were too high. It was scary. We had never been apart of anything like this before and we had never seen this happen to any prior team. Hearing that we weren’t working hard enough bounced around in my head. We had spent weeks doing the most excruciating workouts. It felt like our season was over after only the fourth meet.
We walked away from the meeting heads down, not knowing what was going to come next.
It was a long, quiet bus ride home, and the rumble of the bus tires couldn’t drown out coach’s words. What are we going to do? As a captain, I told the guys to use the coach’s comments as motivation.
During the week I stayed focused and encouraged my teammates at every chance I got. I sent out texts and emails to the team, telling them to keep their heads up and get pumped for this week’s race. I also organized a pasta party the night before. This week’s race was at a difficult course and we were all nervous going in. But in the race, each of us dropped at least 20 seconds. After that race we never looked back. We improved each race, and eventually reached our goal of running at state. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
From this season, I learned that sometimes things don’t go my way, and I can work hard but it still doesn’t might not happen for me. I just have to stay motivated and keep working hard and things will eventually fall into place.