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Best for Many Not Best For All

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There was a slight breeze blowing over the crimson red track, giving what little refreshment it had to offer for all of the runners who seemed to be overcome with anxiety. Some resembled paranoid criminals looking over their shoulder for the nerve-racking blue and red lights flashing there way that never seemed to come. Some people describe their first track meet as the scariest and most horrid time on the earth because all eyes are on them. They are the main attraction of the circus. For me this was not the case. This was what I had trained for. I would not and could not lose this race. I was strongly determined to prove my coach’s opinion of me and my unique style wrong.

It had always been a deep desire of mine to run the two hundred meter hurtles for my school. When the opportunity presented itself in sixth grade at River Oaks Baptist School, mine was the first name scribbled on the list for track participation. Sixty-four people where on the R.O.B.S. track team and I was the only one who ran the two hundred meter hurtles. I was overjoyed when my coach informed me that I would get personal training from him since he only trained two hundred hurdlers. I couldn’t wait until my P.E. class the next day when I would finally get to start hurtling for the first time. I had two weeks to train for the meet and my mind was set on the path for victory.
Disappointment swept over me like a tsunami when I arrived at P.E. the next day and my coach told me I had to start running the 1200 meters at full sprint before I could even look at the hurtles. He said that it would help me, “Condition for the physical strain of hurtling,” which I just labeled as an excuse for his undesired will to train me. I was overcome with animosity towards him when I would finish the sprint and practically fall to the ground from exhaustion. But finally the second week came and I was granted the bittersweet privilege of hurdling during practice time. This was one of the most grueling experiences I had ever undergone. An even worse fact was that my coach was sure that I was one of the worst hurdlers he had ever seen. He claimed that I had no style of running what so ever and that I couldn’t possibly win any race I entered. I stared blankly into the black heartless pits that had taken over his once encouraging eyes while my dreams where crushed by his cruel words. All I could muster from the inside of my lungs was a small and weak “ok”. He walked off slowly into his office while I just stood there and stared. Trying to move was an impossibility as my body turned to cold hard stone. I knocked on his office door and strode in and proclaimed in a voice I wish I had the power to say earlier “You are wrong,” and I walked out. Since he was determined that there was only one-way to hurdle and that was the traditional form I would practice and master this form. No matter how hard I tried I could never get the form down. I would fail and fail and fail every time. Thoughts of resignation drifted through my head every now and then but my pure desire to go to that track meet and emerge victorious served as a bulwark against such thoughts.

Hours at home were spent jumping the bush in my front yard, which were half my size and a little more. I wanted to develop my own style to prove my coach wrong. My will to win that meet was so overpowering that I occasionally forgot to attend to my studies and resulted in my falling of a math test. But this was little sacrifice to me for I never planned to have a career involving any mathematical enigmas of course I now see that I was completely incorrect in my thinking. I assumed that my education was of little value to my attendance and desired victory of the track meet that lingered in the relatively close future. One day at home I had a realization that I already had my own style, I would do whatever was the fastest way to get over the hurdle. I couldn’t wait until the meet to show my coach what I could do.

The day had come that the yellow buses were seen pulling into the carpool circle in the front of the gym. All sixty-four students pilled on yelling and laughing and full of energy from the excitement of their first meet. I was jumping with joy when I entered the bus and we began the long drive to St. John’s school. We pulled in and I was overjoyed. I ran around the track four times to get warmed up. The time had come for me to begin my race when the announcer called, “Two hundred hurtles is up next, racers go to the starting line.” I was so full of energy and anxiety I couldn’t keep my legs and whole body for that matter from shaking violently. I was placed in lane one. I was very happy at this because the person with the best time goes into the first lane. I became unknowingly cocky as my friends stood beside me and discouraged the other racers claiming that I was the fastest or that I was the highest jumper. I didn’t understand why they said I was the highest jumper because in hurtling that is a very bad quality; it means you stay in the air longer then others but I assumed my friends where ignorant to that fact. My heart sunk as my coach walked up to me and proclaimed that winning wasn’t everything and it was ok to lose. My heart swelled with anger as I heard him say this. I knew he had lost all faith in me. I looked up at him and stated “I know, but winning is all that I will be doing here today.”
BAM! The gun went off and I wasn’t ready. I had been too pre-occupied with my coach’s words to notice that the race was starting. I began to sprint to try to catch up with the other runners who where about 2 seconds ahead. I was devoured by a sense of failure when I noticed that it would be almost impossible to win the race. Then my coach’s words ringed in my ears and I became very angry and my desire to prove him wrong was stronger then ever. I sprinted like a mad man over the first three hurdles and I passed up the third and fourth racers. It was then that the runner in second who was doing the traditional style didn’t pull his leg up high enough and it caught on the hurdle and he fell over rolling into my line along with his sideways hurdle. I hoped him and his hurtle then did a huge jump over the hurdle in my lane. I realized that if I was doing the traditional style, which required you, get at least five steps between hurdles I would have fallen also. This epiphany was wondrous to me. So wondrous in fact that I didn’t realize that I had just passed up the first place runner and won the race. The look of accomplishment on my face must have been obvious to others because my friends came to me and congratulated my win stating that I was better then they thought. I wondered if they thought I was so good before the race how good did they think I was now. That was when a good day became great as my coach strode up to me with a sense of confusion and embarrassment on his face as he admitted that he was wrong for doubting me and he apologized in his criticism of my inability for running hurdles. I thanked him and told him of my practice at my home and how I tried very hard to get a style he would deem worthy and also how I realized that I had a style. From that day on he never doubted me again and he would let me do whatever style I preferred during practice. I understood that he acknowledged that this was the best style of running for me.

What is best for many may not be best for all is a statement that would not leave my mind that day. I applied this thinking to many real life situations in that I was required to do something that was thought to be the best way for every one. I now found that I had a unique way of doing things that went against all ways of thinking but it was always best for me.





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