I have always had a passion for running. Running isn't exactly difficult to learn how to do and it's not a skill that many people find important. Nevertheless, I view running and racing as extremely beneficial to a student's character and health. As the cross country team captain my senior year, I had the opportunity to constantly encourage and help prepare my teammates for the challenges they would be facing. Traditionally, a coach is supposed to lead the team in every way, technique to training. In my school's case, however, our coach was the biggest "slacker" on the team. I gradually became in charge of every aspect of the sport - training, scheduling, and even encouragement among teammates. I enjoyed this role, but it caused much unneeded stress for me that was a burden that I believed was not mine to bear. During races where I would normally be focused, preparing myself for my own personal competition and performance, I was forced by necessity to gather my teammates into a group, lead the warm-up, give a pep-talk, and even congratulate my teammates after the race and give them the encouragement they needed. Because I was not the Coach, several girls did not respect me, follow my instructions, or heed my advice. These results to my efforts made me feel as if my acts were fruitless and I might as well abandon my attempts. When I watched others girls listen to me, value my opinion, and follow my directions, however, I realized that my best was all I could give to the team. Just because every girl didn’t follow my instructions or view me as a reliable or absolute authority, that didn’t mean that every girl behaved that way. Although leading the team like a coach normally would put an extraordinary amount of pressure on me, I was able to develop the proper skills to lead a group, prepare an effective system, and give confidence to my teammates. These skills carried over to other areas of my life, such as dedication in the classroom, my leadership in other extracurricular activities, and my outlook for the future. For this, I am glad that this challenge was one I could accomplish and fulfill well. I learned that my efforts do not always reap a harvest of results that I will see immediately. As with many things in life that take time and hard work, I must be patient for the seed that I planted to prosper, even if that means that I will never personally witness the results. The legacy I have left with these runners of accepting responsibility when necessary and maintaining a positive attitude will live on much longer than my records ever could.
A Girl and Her Garden
February 15, 2011