I never held as much responsibility as when I was the captain of the cross-country team. Becoming a leader and role model for this group of girls was a new, interesting experience. As an underclassman I never realized how much work and responsibility goes into being a team captain. I had always looked up to my captains and wanted to be just as good an athlete, and as cool. Team members rely on the captains. As captain, I now had to deal with the pressures and stress that went along with the role. I knew I was going to learn a lot.
I quickly realized that my position entailed a lot of responsibility, which was new to me. Not only was I in charge of scheduling and running summer practices, but I also held a major role in making sure each girl was getting what she wanted out of her team experience. That’s a lot to deal with, but I really wanted to succeed and make the coach proud.
When my coach gave me the list of girls, I not only realized that I was their leader but also their role model. The freshmen especially looked up to me, which made me realize I needed to change some of my ways. If I acted lazy, complained about assignments, or arrived late to practice, the girls would copy me. Becoming a captain made me change.
Another significant lesson I learned was how to take charge and manage a group of people. During summer practices the coach wasn’t around to tell us what to do and keep us motivated. I was in charge, and I had to keep 20 girls on task. I quickly learned that sometimes being nice doesn’t work, and when you want to accomplish something you can’t always have fun. You have to work hard to grow as an athlete.
By the time cross-country season ended, I had really developed as an athlete and learned a lot about responsibility. I think being captain taught me about myself and in the end was a pleasant experience. I enjoyed being the one others looked up to, and I took pride in helping all the girls with their problems and watching their progress during the season.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.