I always loved cross country races.
There was something about putting on my spikes, doing the warm-ups, and having those pre-race jitters right before the gun went off. I didn't even run on varsity, but it's a feeling that I honestly missed when I started running just to workout in college because I didn't have anything, in particular, to train for. I miss the rush of competition. Whether it was a cheerleading competition or cross country or track race, it was something I always had to prepare for.
I've been in an athletics-centered world since I was in preschool.
I couldn't really help it. Some of my earliest memories are of me and my older brother at pee-wee cheer and football. I ended up switching to cross country, and my older brother started to focus more on wrestling. Our careers both ended when we graduated high school. My youngest brother followed my older one in playing football then transitioning to wrestling.
My parents (bless them) spent years taking us to and from practices, coming to games and meets, and in my dad's case, coaching my brothers' football teams for twelve years. I can't thank them enough for everything they did over the years and for fostering that love of sports for both me and my brothers.
When I started college I was accepted into the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars. One of our nicknames was basically "ex-high school athletes," and it definitely showed. While we were all different majors, we all had a passion for athletics. We channeled that passion into intramurals, going to local hockey and soccer games, and just trying to be sporty and well in college.
I love sports, and I love supporting whatever team I'm a part of. I am constantly in awe watching these people follow their passions whether it's high school cross country, college wrestling, or the Olympics. If I can get excited about anything, it's a good game. Or better yet, a great wrestling match.
So thank you. To my coaches, my teammates, my friends, and most of all my parents, for getting me into this community and making me fall in love with this exhilarating and unpredictable world of sports.