My Run-ins with Track

After a lifetime of neglecting sports, I finally joined track.

Darcy Biermeyer, Journalist

  High school is a trying time, full of struggles managing a slew of emotional issues. One of the biggest issues for many students is time management: to balance a full schedule of homework, chores at home, and any sort of social life can be an immense task. Adding something like a sport into that mix can be even harder, but many athletes find it to be an incredibly gratifying. However, those that haven’t played sports before can find it intimidating and be hesitant to join, but that’s exactly what I did.

  I had never played a sport before my sophomore year in high school. I was homeschooled–from 1st to 9th grade, I studied with my two siblings and my mom at home. I never got the chance to play sports, and frankly, I never had a desire to.

  Coming into high school, I never thought I would want to join a sport. I wasn’t the best team player, as I enjoyed my anti-social circle of friends and pretty much nobody else. However, as the year progressed, all of my friends joined Track and Field, leaving me alone for several last-hour biology classes.

  After a week of seeing how happy they were to be participating, I felt myself being drawn closer and closer to it. I liked the thought of having a supportive team and getting to spend time with my friends.

  The season quickly passed as I sat indecisively, unable to join so late. I was determined to join a sport the next year (as a sophomore), but I had to decide what I wanted to do. I had absolutely zero hand-eye coordination, so a sport like softball or volleyball was never even a consideration. With that in mind, I was again referred to track.

  As the next season approached, I felt less inclined to join. I was overwhelmed with homework from honors and AP classes as well as family issues. I was nervous to join, too: after a lifetime of being astonishingly unathletic, I was terrified of the judgment I would face now. My fellow sophomores had participated in one or more sport before, or at least all of my friends had.

  The final push for me to join came in January, after the two weeks of winter break. I was going through a rough breakup and was spending most of my free time alone in my room, sinking deeper into a vat of terrible emotions. I was tired of feeling sorry for myself and wanted improvement, so I sought just that.

  It started as a way to get me out of the house, but it progressed into so much more than that. I joined with my best friends (who also provided rides for me, as my parents were unable to), and grew even closer to them as we pushed ourselves as a group.

I went to every practice, minus one (as a result of having a fever of 104). Frankly, I hated running. I didn’t feel like I would ever be good at it, and I was embarrassed of myself and my abilities, or lack thereof.

  Track became my reason to keep pushing. I know it sounds stupid, but it was. No matter how bad it was to suffer in the sweltering heat of the summer sun, I kept pushing myself. It was my mental escape, because for a few hours every day I could pour my heart into training instead of being miserable.

  After a while, I started to see improvement in my body as well as my mind. I could run farther and better at track, but I was now also able to take my dog on runs when I hadn’t even tried before. I had more energy and more motivation to get through my homework rather than procrastinating all day. I learned to love running.

  I haven’t had any sort of physical miracle transformation, but I have improved dramatically. I don’t want to be the best, but I want to be the best I can be.

  No matter how nervous I was to join my first sport, after years of neglecting it, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m currently participating in my second season of track, having more fun than ever before. It opened many doors I had never even considered before. I’ve learned that sports are fun, not daunting, no matter how bad you may be at them.