Today was the big day; the day I had been anxiously awaiting. I arrived at the LSU track meet after a long, dreary car ride. Pulling up into the view of the stadium, I saw cars parked bumper to bumper. I could already tell that the stadium would be packed and a lot of teams would be here. I nervously hop out of the car and follow my parents into the stadium. I push through the crowds of people who are waiting around to see each running event. The loud cheering of the crowd excites me and for a second, my fear dissipates. As I am admiring the talent of these amazing runners I am witnessing with my own eyes, I am brought back into reality. I am about to run in my first ever state track meet. My coaches and team members approach me and I realize this is not a dream; my dream is actually coming true. I am aspiring to be an Olympic runner and this is the first step towards reaching my goal. My teammates and I exchange nervous glances towards one another and together as a team, we state heading to the inside practice track where the teams and individual runners can warm up before their events. Hundreds of young teenagers are running, jumping and stretching. To relieve our nerves, we begin warming up and running a few laps and stretching a bit. So many thoughts are running through my head and my hands, and when I come back to my senses, I notice my whole body is shaking. Waiting anxiously to run, we all sit down and try to focus and calm down. Suddenly, we begin hearing thunder and see a large flash of lightning above the stadium. Shortly after, the rain begins to pour and gusts of wind blow through and a man begins announcing that the meet will be delayed over the loud speaker. Hours pass and finally the announcer comes back on the speaker. “Thank you for your patience. Runners in the 4x4 relay event, the race will begin in less than an hour and a half”, announced the man. This was our time to shine. We warm up, stretch and prepare our body and mind for the race. I lace up my running spikes; triple knotting my laces out of nervous habit. My hands are trembling as we line up in the order of our relay numbers. I am the second leg of the relay so I get behind my teammate and the others line up behind me. We all hold the relay baton in our hands and begin saying a prayer together and wish for the best. The people open the gate after checking our spikes and names, and finally, we are on the track. I felt like I was in a daze. My mind was everywhere, trying to focus but in such shock and amazement of the huge crowd and brightly lit stadium. It was like a dream come true. All I could hear was cheering and people shouting and moving around with excitement and nervousness. Quickly, we are lined up in our spots on the track and in a few seconds, the gun goes off. My teammate is starting off the relay and we are slightly behind but we were doing better than we expected at this point. As I see her coming around the track, moving closer and closer towards me, all I can think about is running. I tell myself in my head how long I have worked for this. I keep saying in my head, “You can do it.” My hands are trembling and my vision is blurred. I am only focusing on one thing; running as fast as I physically and mentally can. Seconds later, my teammate is inches away from me. I start running and the baton is passed from her hand to mine. The next minute passes by in slow motion, pushing my body and moving my legs as fast as they can go. I see girls in front of me, but I feel myself getting closer and closer towards each of them. Breathing and running is all that I am focused on. I do not hear the crowd around me, nor do I see them. I come around after a minute of running my leg of the race, and pass on the baton to my teammate. The next two teammates of mine finish up the race strong and we ended up placing 6th in the state. I will never forget that moment of my life; crossing the finish line and knowing I walked off of the track with pride, leaving the tears and sweat on the track.
A Dream Come True
May 20, 2012