Joining the track team was by far the most unpredictable thing I have ever done. I was about 15 years old in the 10th grade and I wasn’t planning on doing any sports in high school, but one day after school I was walking passed the track and I seen how competitive and how much fun the track team was having while they were practicing. As i was walking passed the track my friend rushed to me with a big smile on her face, excited about being on the track team. It had grabbed my attention completely after that, I knew I had to give it a chance.
I was so anxious to join the track team, the next day I decided to go to the athletic director’s office to get information about the track team. I walked into his office and we spoke for almost an hour! I started by telling him I felt nervous, because I didn’t know much about the sport. Finally, after that talk the athletic director had convinced me to get out my comfort zone and give this sport a try. So later on that day, after school I headed down to the track field for practice and I was already feeling anxious and out of place. I remember wearing my black old school vans with green basketball shorts and a white tank top, while everyone else was wearing tights and their track shoes. Being the only one who was unprepared for practice made me feel like I was already off to a bad start. I just tried to have a positive mindset, so I thought to myself “at least I know what to wear for next practice”. As practices went by I felt as if i wasn’t improving at all, I remember the coaches criticising me on everything I did. One day the criticism had got to me and I had enough , I thought they were always picking on me. After practice I talked to one of the coaches named coach tracy, he looked like he was in his mid 40’s and he always wore a sombrero he looked like a wise man, I talked to him about not being interested on being on the team anymore. Since there wasn’t much time to talk about why I didn’t want to be on the team he asked me to speak with him in his office the next day about it and so I agreed to speak with him.
I walked into his office the next day, it smelled like sweaty people in locker room it smelled like and athletes office i guess you can say. I remember walking in and seeing the look on his face changed, he became very serious but also had a face of hope, maybe hope that I would change my mind? I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I walked towards him and sat in the seat that was in front of his desk. The first thing he asked me was “are you a loser?”, I was in complete shock, and I asked him “why would you say that?”, he answered saying, “only losers give up.” He started going on explaining they only criticize me, because they want me to improve in what i do, also that it’s so important to finish what you start, because in life we have to keep moving forward through all the failures and obstacles that life throws at you. This was an eye-opener for me, it made me realize all the things I could’ve accomplished if I never gave up on previous things i’ve been through in life. At that moment I told myself I was going to succeed in all that I do, even if the process is difficult. I continued to attend practice everyday and coach Tracy even offered extra practice days on the weekend, which I decided to attend as well. During all those extra practices coach Tracy took his time with he was very patient, he taught me how to run on my toes, take breaths while running, and he also taught me how to set up my starting blocks. One of the most things I had a difficult time with was starting off, I would pop straight up from the blocks and I did it over about 30 times that day, he did not let me give up, (which I am so thankful for now). Coach Tracy was very motivating, when i felt down about doing something wrong he’d remind me to not let it get to me and keep pushing through the failures. Throughout I started to notice that this sport not only has to do with skillful techniques but it has to do a lot with having a positive mindset. Throughout the season practices I felt as if I didn’t accomplish much, but I kept telling myself I will succeed. Finally one day after a long and rough practice the coaches announced when our first track meet would be. We all gathered around the coaches in a circle as they announced the assigned runs. As he was calling out everyone’s names and what they were assigned to, I began to feel extremely anxious. I didn’t want to participate at all because I feared all of the possible things that can happen, I thought “what if people think I suck?’, or even worse, “what if I get myself disqualified? The entire team would be upset.” All these feelings made me overwhelmed, and then i remembered i need to stay positive to succeed, all the negativity isn’t going to do anything but bring me down.
I remember that first track meet, it was about 100 degrees outside and asa team we were all wearing track pants and windbreakers, can you imagine how hot we were? Words cannot explain how hot it was, I felt like I was in a sauna. Eventually we changed into our shorts to warm up for our runs. As time went by and I knew that my call for my run was coming up, I knew i needed to talk to coach Tracy to restore myself, because those feelings of anxiety started to come back. It was like he read my mind, because he came up to me and began to say that it’s my time to show everyone how confident i’ve got and and much improvement i’ve made. When he told me this, I made me feel better, because it’s the truth i’ve worked hard for this and now I get to put the work in action. Next thing you know I heard “200 meter sprint runners come up!”, my heart dropped, it’s like all the emotions of anxiety came back. I had butterflies as I walked up to the starting blocks, I got into position and “bang!” the starting gun went off, I ran with all my force and I kept going. When I heard the starting gun go off, I ran with all my force and I was third place I almost let it get to me while running but I didn’t I pushed myself to run faster and keep going and before you knew I was in first place. I seen coach Tracy waiting at the end of the finish line yelling “finish strong!” It gave me so much motivation knowing that he was there for me when I was terrible and he stood at the finish line when I was winning. The finish of the race was the absolute best feeling. The feeling of accomplishment is one of the best feelings, it’s indescribable how proud you can make yourself, especially with the support from those who want to see you succeed. All the hard work i’ve put in that season of practice had really paid off. I never knew how much a difference it can be to keep practicing after so many failures, I couldn’t believe I had almost gave up that season. I knew that remaining positive and keep moving through all the failures will make you accomplish more things in life.
That whole track season has made an impact on me all around. It has taught me to not give up on myself in anything, and by the end of the season I was more confident than I have ever been. This sport has showed me that it’s okay make mistakes even after so many failures. Acceptance is key to success, in life we need to learn to accept the failures and hardships we go through in order to grow and become better, and that’s what track has helped me learn. Not everything comes easy it takes time and patience to grow. Now that I had that experience with track, it has honestly helped me view things differently in an optimistic way. There are many aspects in my life that track has influenced greatly. I couldn’t have done it without coach Tracy, he has made a big impact on me, he didn’t let me give up, and showed me how much more I can accomplish by being positive and pushing myself to continue to get better. Not only did I grow love for this sport but Track has helped me learn how to accept failure and continue to prosper more in my life for the future by having a positive mindset.