Monday Musing – Determination
I got to see a wonderful example of determination and the will to beat the odds last Friday during my teams last cross country meet. The meet was the 6A Junior High State Meet and it was the last chance for my guys to prove that they had what it took. They did by finishing 2nd overall and meeting two teams that they had not beat all season, and while that showed a never say die attitude on their part, there was one runner on my team that stood above the rest. Now I can not disclose his real name so I am going to call him George. Now George has been a great runner all season finishing in the top 10 in every race that he had, but there was one kid that, no matter what race we were at, was dozens of seconds ahead of everybody else.
Now I knew that superstar runner was going to be at our state race and was going to run in the 6A division. So over the next two weeks, during practice I told George that it would take something special to beat him, and that he would have to push himself to a limit he has not gone to yet. To George’s credit everyday in practice he worked like his life depended on it.
The day of the race came and my guys were ready, at least I hoped they were ready. We got there and started warming up and when it came time for the race the teams lined up and started going through their pre-race routines. I gathered my team around and gave them a quick pep-talk and told them to warm up. As they were going through their last stretches and drills I told them to watch out for the “blue” team because they were ranked 1st in state. George asked me, who he needed to watch out for and that was when I spotted the superstar. I told George, “If you beat that kid you will not have to worry about anybody on the “blue” team.” Then I saw something in George that I had not seen all season. What he did next surprised me and everybody else on the team. George just started starring the superstar down. The superstar would stretch George just gave him the look. I thought to myself alright looks like George is ready to go.
When the gun sounded George and the superstar raced to the front of the pack. After watching them go by I ran to the first mile marker to cheer the team on and see what their first mile time was. At the first mile George was still in the lead and the superstar was right behind him. It was a windy day and I knew the superstar was a savvy runner so I thought he was just using George to block the wind. I thought about trying to get George to get behind the kid and let him block the wind, but did not know how to tell him so I let it go.
After George and the rest of my team passed I hurried over towards the finish line (it is a 2 mile race at the Junior High Level) and placed myself about 400 yards from the tape. Once there I looked across the way to see where the runners were when I spotted George, but where was the superstar. I started scanning in front of him to see where he was but nobody was there. I looked a ways behind George and there he was about 20 yards back. As George rounded the corner and started coming towards me I started yelling. I could see George was tired, but there was still some fire and determination in his eyes. When George saw me he knew he was close and started to kick it in. At that moment I knew that he had it. It was a heck of a race, and George set himself a PR (personal record) by overcoming 11:00 minutes, which for an 8th grader is flying, heck it is flying for just about anybody! George ran with a lot of guts that day and beat a kid that has never been beaten. I have to say I was proud.