for more than just the finish line!
|Conference Cross-Country Meet|
“Five minutes until race time!” shouted the starter. My cross-country team frantically tried to find me, and at that time I thought it was unfortunate that they did. I was a terrified eighth-grader being pulled out of hiding for my very first cross-country race. Intense training for only two weeks before my first meet frightened me. With a team of only seven girls, I was automatically placed on varsity. After a pep talk from my coach and team, I lined up at the starting line with about eighty other girls. My legs started to shake, and I instantly felt sick. Little did I know that the feeling of self-doubt and fear of failure would be an ongoing struggle throughout all aspects of my high school career.
Throughout the eighth and ninth grade, I was afraid of running because I was afraid of trying something new and getting out of my comfort zone. Once I overcame this struggle, a new one started to form. The remaining years of high school were challenging because I put all of my identity into my accomplishments in sports. They defined me. In my mind if I had a great race, then I was a great person. However, if I had a terrible race, then something must be wrong with me. I put so much pressure on myself that I started to let not only my sports but my fears define me. I started to become afraid to try anything new because the chance of failure always seemed high.
Being overwhelmed with not being able to perform my best due to fear left me with anxiety the beginning of my senior year. It was here that many mentors stood out to me like a beacon. They helped me realize that life was meant to be colorful and not seen from only a black and white perspective. My mentors, coaches, FFA advisors, family, and teammates encouraged me to rethink why I wanted to be involved with sports. In addition, they helped me redefine what success was. As an eighth-grader, success solely meant earning a medal. As a senior, I redefined success to mean to run for more than just a medal. If I ran as hard as I could at that given race and still did not get a personal best, I was still excited. If I leaned into the corners and paced myself behind a very fast athlete, then I still felt proud. If I encouraged my teammates to run to the best of their ability and if I had a positive attitude along the way, then I felt like I already won.
|Running for the MACA Tigers|
Towards the end of senior year, sports stopped defining me and my actions, beliefs, values, and faith started to instead. In the same way, as FFA members, we should hold true to this same mentality. Awards will collect dust and may even break, but a positive attitude and a strong faith can last a lifetime. I encourage you to run the race of life at your own pace and for more than just the finish line. I encourage you to embrace yourself for who you are- beautifully and wonderfully created! I encourage you to take off your weights of fear and instead put on the blue jacket of hope.
Stationed by the door,
Stationed by the door,