Learning on the course instead of class

There are some things you learn in the classroom, and others you learn on the race course. When I joined cross country in seventh grade, I had no idea the team’s influence would reach all aspects of my life. Now, I encourage everyone to participate in a sport.

Cross country is a unique sport in that the amount of practice and time you dedicate to it directly translates to your performance in races. I learned to push myself in my training in order to reap better results, and I quickly understood that this same dedication was applicable to my schoolwork.

The idea that the amount of work you put in shows in the results you get back was, in a way, therapeutic for me. It gave me a method to put my trust and effort into. I thought that if I worked hard, I would see results.

As my senior year comes to a close, I recognize that school and life do not always work that way. Even if you put effort into something, you may not get the result you want. But even if the lesson doesn’t apply in every case, it often holds true, and those times can be of great comfort.

That is why cross country was essential to my JDS experience: It gave me a rhythm and pattern on which I could always rely, and it was always a way to visualize success in my life. Even if it may seem stressful or time-consuming, it enhances your quality of life. Every person needs a few wins to keep them going and those cannot always be attained in academic work. If you’re like me, having a sport to fall back on when other aspects of your life become challenging is always reassuring.

This story was featured in the Volume 37, Issue 4 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on January 16, 2020.