Before beginning what would be my the last collegiate track season, I began to brainstorm ideas of how I could make my last season the best season that I have ever had. My teammates or my coaches weren’t the issue; they have seen me at my worse and at my best and have always been my cheerleaders. But there was something about this season that I wanted to make sure that I remembered for the rest of my life. Let’s face it, the wear and tear has definitely taken a toll on my body and to be able to get a break from any form of exercise sounds so appealing.
Being on a team, no matter in what form, can be very rewarding but sometimes disheartening or difficult. Its how you handle the situations that will allow you to see it to the good times that you will always remember. Our last meet before PSAC championships at Susquehanna on February 20 made me realize why I give back so much to my teammates.
Lesson 1: They have taught me to love unconditionally.
Coming onto a team where everyone comes from different backgrounds, I was a bit reluctant to open up and show them my true colors. That was until I had a teammate that literally did not care what people thought of her. She was sassy and brought a lot of competition among the team and I will forever thank her for that because she allowed me to not only open up, but to not judge others. In addition, I would have to say she made the team better in many ways with her outspokenness. The one common thing that you and your team will have is the sport that brought you together and that should be more than enough to build a relationship upon if you love the sport enough.
Lesson 2: They have taught me how to be a leader and how to be a follower.
Yes, some may say that I am a “natural born leader” which in some cases may be true. I love leading by example and better yet, being the person that people come to with their problems because I love to solve. However, being a great leader requires you to also be follower. With a great team like mine, they are willing to take on some responsibilities so that I don’t have to do everything.
Lesson 3: They have taught me that winning isn’t everything.
More specifically to my coach, but to my team as well. Not every race I run, will I win or set a ground-breaking personal record. And that’s okay. My team has always been there for me when I do well in a competition just as much as they have been there for me when I don’t do so well. They uplift me and put me in the right mindset to focus on the next gain I plan to make.
Lesson 4: They have taught me that practice doesn’t make perfect… practice makes better.
I know that many pro-athletes and even inspirational speakers say that “practice makes perfect,” but I would have to disagree. Having been through some very hard practices, I would have to say that those practices were not ‘perfect’ by any means, but they did make me better. Over time, yes, practice helps you perfect your craft. However, for the most part practice is somewhat of a nuisance. My teammates show me that practice makes things better with every A, B and C skip we take.
Lesson 5: They have taught me that wasting people’s time is the single most disrespectful thing you could do.
If you are going to be late, tell someone. Having a group of people wait or wonder where you are is very disrespectful. Don’t just saunter into some place and expect things to be alright. If there was mutual agreement that you are to meet at a particular time in a particular place, show some integrity, and do just that.
Lesson 6: They have taught me what commitment looks like.
I have worked with some of the most talented athletes I have ever had the pleasure of working with. We come to practice when we are as sick a dog (and probably shouldn’t be at practice to be honest; Airborne has become my best friend); bronchitis, the flu, and other possibly life threatening conditions (*clears throat* Aunt Flo), but they come to practice despite those things happening to them. When you’re on a team, you don’t just represent yourself, but your entire team as well. Doing something is better than nothing.
Lesson 7: They have taught me what it’s like to have a sister.
At times, they get on my nerves but then other times, they are the people I confide in the most. It’s like having 25 sisters!