I feel very blessed to have a job doing what I love. Although it means I sacrifice many of my weekends, there is no place I would rather be than watching my athletes compete. My weekends, for as long as I can remember, have been taken up by track meets and road races and so it would make sense that weekends in my professional life would look no different.
One of my favorite places to be is at the finish line of a cross country meet.
I love watching parents and teammates cheering on their athlete, screaming at them to run faster, running along the sidelines with them, and watching the seconds tick off the clock as they run by.
I love watching the finishers, eyes focused on the clock, determination evident in every facial expression, giving every last ounce of energy they have before reaching the finish line.
I love that sudden burst of energy runners get when their is a competitor suddenly in their reach or if they realize they are about to get passed.
I love watching interactions with fans immediately following a race: the ecstatic hug and squeeze if the athlete ran well or the silent embrace to recognize they did their best for that day.
I love watching runners interact with their coach, the frantic search if they haven’t found them at the finish, the dissecting every aspect of the race. I love the notes jotted down on the quintessential clipboard.
I love the honesty. No matter what the preparation looked like beforehand, I truly believe every runner that toes line has intentions of giving it their all and testing their limits, even if it is just down the final 100 meters.
I love the energy. When you are standing down the final finishing shoot, there is no one there that does not want to be there. You take a look around and everyone is eager. People clap for athletes that aren’t theirs. There are flags; there are team banners. Everyone is excited. Everyone is there to support one another.
Runners understand each other and we can relate to the pain of the race, to the constant desire to better ourselves, and to the addiction we have to the sport. I don’t know where I am supposed to be right now or what I am supposed to be doing but I do know that I am supposed to be doing this but it means a lot to me to able to give back to the community in an area that I am passionate about.