The Only One

September 29, 2011
By awwyssa BRONZE, Auburn, New York
awwyssa BRONZE, Auburn, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

If you were a part of the cross-country team, you would be able to understand how we come to be such a big family, or so I thought. When I let myself decide that running would be my sport of choice, I really had no understanding of what I was getting myself into. I started the sport when I was just a puny little tenth grader and the adoration I had for it quickly spun out of control. As we slowly spurt up into those prominent upperclassmen years, we tend to take example from the seniors. This year, I am the only senior on our Varsity Cross Country team. You can only come to imagine the amount of pressure I really have on my shoulders.

All of my life I have waited patiently for my turn to come when I would finally become a captain of any particular sport, really. Now that the wait is over and it’s my turn to turn on the leadership role, captain position is the last thing crossing through my mind. It’s especially hard when an entire team is against a decision that was very difficult to make.

Unlike any other sport played, running is not our punishment. Running is our sport. I tend to take a defensive position when it starts to come off as laid back and even comical. When a team distributes the amount of malevolence towards their own sport as my team had, the disgruntlement that moved through me was astonishing. My entire team lessened our workout and cheated simply because they “thought” they deserved a break. From a Captain’s point of view, there are multiple ways of handling sticky situations like this one. My final decision was to take matters to the next level and get my coach involved. It may have been a base thing to do but it was also the correct approach any leader should take towards such an action.

It basically comes down to what went down at a Cross Country Invitational that took place in our rival High School. Being the harbinger that I am, I took many attempts to converse with my teammates. Don’t get me wrong here; I was not discourteous in anything that I approach the girls with. Every time I seemed to open my mouth I watched the eyes of the betrayed sink lower to the ground and their interest lessened rapidly. The witless things that escaped my mouth, just to get the attention, just seemed to be a waste of my breath. I vaguely remember the snickering and formidable conversations arising around me. As rigorous as it was to hear members of my own team whispering all around me, I tried to get as serious as I could about the upcoming race.

As we were acquiring our box, the box is where we start our race from; none of their attitudes towards m seemed to change. At that moment, when the Official raises his right arm and says those two terrifying words, “Ready… Set,” everyone goes motionless until the “Boom!” of the starting gun. My mind gets completely vacant as I realized how mentally unprepared I was for this race to start. There was a sense of heaviness in me as I felt one foot chase after the other. It was as if I had eaten a ton of bricks before I began the five-kilometer trek up and down hills and bending around corners inside the most flabbergasting nature trail my two eyes have ever come across. My mind always seems to absorb the beauty of the course before it absorbs the intensity of the competition. But this time my least concern was the race. I kept envisioning scenarios on situations that could potentially ratify the team and deteriorate the problem. The repetition of each and every person of my team flashed in and out of my concentration flow and I was unable to control my running techniques.

Once the agonizing, constant pinching at my lungs and legs stopped, the realization came over me that I crossed the finish line and I was by no means breathing as hard as I should have been. Not only did I disappoint myself with such a terrible finishing time, it was the second time I had let them down.

Needless to say that the way each face gazed upon me wasn’t that of a happy bunch of runners. I extended my hand out to each and every one of them to congratulate them with a high-five; with stinky looks they returned the favor. I convinced myself that I had had enough. Slowly, I could feel the redness in my face intensify as the reality of everything was setting back in. My cheekbones started to ache and throb as little drops started to form in the corners of my eyes. It was happening, my frustrated cry. As nimble as I could I rushed in to grab my essentials, my iPhone and my Canon Rebel camera. The time had come for me to get as far away from everyone as I possibly could, and I did. Even before putting shoes on I was out the door in a jiffy and searching for my best friend who is a native of the school's area. All I could think of was how ridiculous I would look showing up in front of him, eyes swelling, tears soaking my face, my face more red than his stations fire truck.

So I skedaddled my way into a deserted corner and scrambled through the contacts on my phone in desperate search to vent my thoughts to anyone who would listen. The corner I was hidden in wasn’t as consolidated as I thought it was because time after time I was nearly trampled over by fellow friends from the other team working the meet. Flick after flick my thumbs couldn’t catch a name fast enough as they were flinging across my screen. My coach discovered my hiding placed and I exclaimed to her everything that took place earlier in the day. She gave me some sincere advice and I followed it.

I was able to escape the grueling and constant glares of my disheveled teammates at last. My friend came into view, finally. He had a sense of what was going on so we escaped the noisiness and hiked through the woods. I was amazed at all of the beauty that endures the nature, even beyond the running trails. It was as if Heaven kissed the chilly dirt underneath my feet. Streams weaved around random logs and man-made bridges. The bridges surrounded the area and were located over any spot that had any evidence of the slightest trickle of water. As I stumbled over giant trees roots and collided with the friend in front of me from following a tad bit too close, I realized that nothing but these moments within the trees truly made me feel like I had the whole world in my hands.

The meet was coming to an end at this point, so we made our way back to the school. I wrapped him in my arms and squeezed him as hard as I could before taking one last glance into his sea foam green/blue eyes. With that, we parted and I, once again, had to face facts. My team still despised of me and I wanted to stay invisible for the rest of the day. With my wish being granted I climbed aboard the bus, fixated myself into a sleeping position and replaced the noise of the world with the sounds of my favorite music.

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