When I was in sixth grade, I wasn’t doing a fall sport, because the middle school soccer team was not available for sixth graders. However, I wanted to do something that would prepare me for the upcoming spring soccer season, and many people suggested that I try track. I was nervous but excited at the same time to get into running because I had been told throughout the years that I was a fast runner. In middle school, track wasn’t really serious, so I had fun and did not compete in major meets. At the end of the season, I had felt faster and in better shape. This made me feel confident and prepared for soccer season. But, the next two years of middle school, I played fall soccer instead of track, since it was available.
Soccer has always been a passion of mine that I enjoy. Playing for the middle school team was a lot of fun for me socially and athletically. I made friends and played my favorite sport while doing so. Being a captain my eighth grade year was also a huge deal for me. I felt important and had a lot of fun!
Fast forward to freshman year, and I’m playing fall soccer. Playing on the soccer team was the most amazing experience for me. I had so much fun and my relationships with others immediately grew! I absolutely loved the season and didn’t want it to end!
However, it did end. Taking a break in the winter from school sports, I thought about what I would do in the spring (besides club soccer). Advice from friends, coaches, and family persuaded me to join the spring track team. At first, I thought about my track experience in middle school, and how fun it was. Little did I know high school track was MUCH harder than I thought.
On the first day, I was incredibly nervous. Even though I had some other freshman friends doing it with me, I felt tiny while being surrounded by tons of big upperclassmen. The first day and the week that followed were exhausting. I had never been physically worked so hard. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep doing track. I was ready to give up, but, my family and friends insisted that I kept on going.
Finally, we split into groups by distance. I chose short distance, since I feel I am my best at sprinting. After many practices, our first meet had finally arrived! I was so nervous that I felt nauseous and especially terrified. Since I was only a freshman, I was in the middle of the heats. Varsity is in the front, so I was towards the middle/back. Also, I was so nervous that I was extremely insecure about how I was going to do. I thought I would fail, so I purposefully went behind a lot of people. Even though my race didn’t matter towards the score (since I was towards the back of the heats), it mattered to me.
My first race, I was shaking. When the gun went off, I ran like my pants were on fire.
… And I came in first!
I was impressed and surprised with myself. I did better than I thought I would do, and realized I shouldn’t be so nervous.
After several meets, I realized how much better I was getting. The coaches seemed to notice as well. I realized how much I liked racing and how I felt after.
One meet we went to Woodbury. It was an important meet with many competitors. They were all very good and intimidating. I was terrified but ran as fast as I could. I felt like I was going to pass out, and nearly collapsed at the end. I came in third to last. But, little did I know, I had achieved a “varsity time.” When my track coach told me this news, I was shocked. All I thought about was how I did compared to the other people I was racing against, when I didn’t realize how much better I was than my past self. I had improved so much and was happy about it.
Towards the end of the season, I was asked to come to a highly competitive meet. This meet was a huge deal. Everyone that participated had amazing times and this made me incredibly nervous. My first race I didn’t do so well in, so I shook it off and prepared for my second and final race. I was determined to do better and improve.
It was pouring rain and freezing when my second race was about to start. I was terrified and shivering so much to the point where my muscles were aching.
When the gun went off, I flew down the track. I had realized that I was in front of a lot of people. But, I glanced over and was stuck next to one girl. Determined to beat her, I somehow found the energy to go faster. I was so tired and I couldn’t feel my legs! But, in the last few seconds, I came in first place! I had never been so proud of myself in a meet before.
I went into track not knowing what to expect. I was unhappy at first, but as I trained and got better, I came to enjoy it. Succeeding in track was a huge confidence booster for me, and it not only helped with my speed on the track, it helped with being quicker in soccer.
Overall, I questioned track at first, but in the end, I unexpectedly pursued and enjoyed it.