Sports — the classic game of soccer, all-American football, the rise of volleyball. The list goes on and on but, besides a short dabble in the world of golf, I never possessed much promise in any sports involving a ball. And I accepted it when I was a kid. I was more into dolls and dress-up and reading anyway. If I chose to play outside, a favorite doll or toy most likely came along with me. I did try a game of kickball with some of the neighborhood kids once, though. And, meh, not really my thing, either.
Sports, in general, have never really been my niche. Until middle school, when I discovered running. I was taller than most of the other girls my age, which helped a lot, but unlike the other sports, I actuallyenjoyed it. Because I was fast, which obviously made me proficient.
I even started running in my free time (which, as aforementioned, being sweaty was not my favorite). Although I was a sprinter, I began running two to three miles at home. And I loved it — I had runner's endorphins and felt so energized and accomplished afterward. And then at track meets, especially when my relay team would place high, I knew I had finally found a sport I excelled at and loved. A sport I could carry with me for the rest of my life. I had gone from uncoordinated to athletic in the blink of an eye.
I loved running.
I was sure I would continue it throughout high school; I tried out for the team and everything. It was the one thing I felt good at as a freshman; the one thing I felt like I could succeed in. Until I met the team and the coach, and I quickly realized high school track and field was not for me. I was no longer one of the best, clearly outmatched by 5'10 trained runners who were in their senior year and weren't looking to take a shy, nervous freshman under their wing. In addition to the coach, who was named one of the best in the county, letting his ego grow to intolerable proportions. He had his high-class, trophy-winning runners; he didn't need a freshman who just didn't quite meet his standards. And I didn't need the constant stress and anxiety of trying to impress anyone, not when academics were (and continued to be) number one for me. So, I quit, and...
I hated running.
It all worked out for the best, however, because it led me to discover my passion for writing. But I was suddenly lost of something I had once loved so much. The whole high school track and field experience made even the thought of running dreadful in my eyes, and I never felt fast enough anymore. I had always run to beat the clock, to win against the other runners next to me; now, I was losing. Losing against the clock, against myself. For the most part, afterward, I just stopped running altogether (besides a few short jogs here and there). I didn't have a purpose to run anymore, no matter how hard I tried, so it was difficult to bring myself to pull off two-and-a-half mile runs any longer. Because...
I hated running.
A couple years came and went, though, and I started jogging here and there. I had moved on from the entire track and field ordeal and had discovered what I really loved and was truly passionate about at this point. So any jog I took was more for myself than any dream of competing again. Nevertheless, I began to remember why I adored it so much.
The answer is — my stress seems to fly off of me, into the wind, as I sprint those final few paces, at high-speed as if I was on the track again. I get to absorb the immaculate scenery of the ponds and trees that adorn my neighborhood trail. I wave to fellow joggers and walkers who are just out there for fun, as well. Although I am not the fastest anymore nor the most routine, I relish it again. Every. Single. Moment. And once more...
I love running.