I don't do sports. Ever.
Most people in my life always tried to get me to join one team or another, whether it be badminton, cross country, track and field, swimming, or volleyball. I made it through the various tryouts in middle school and the first two years of high school. One by one I wore myself out, giving up on each arduous (as well as competitive) process.
It wasn't until junior year that I dedicated myself fully to a team sport. I joined the track and field team, with the intention that I would become a part of the throwing events. Given my physicality, I felt these were the only events I could be decent at. Running was a strict no, and most runners also jumped or hurdled.
Choosing throws was a great choice, and I appreciated the time I spent training four days a week with people who built each other up. Yes, I did complain every now and then. Yes, I struggled through jogging/dynamic warm-ups. Yes, I lifted weights like the strong woman I knew I was. Yes, I experienced the mentorship of a veteran team member or the coaches themselves. Yes, I felt inadequate more often than not.
Two seasons later, there are a few things I feel like I've gained from being a member of the track and field team.
One: You can find a family anywhere you go
Being one of the largest sports programs at my high school, the track team was composed of students from all grade levels. From freshmen to seniors, nobody was cut. Personally, this diverse group of individuals made it easier for everyone to befriend others who they didn't normally hang out with. Furthermore, the veterans were always open to sharing their expertise with the beginners, supporting them in their growth.
Two: A general sense of the importance of fitness
Before track and field, I never did much exercise. Working out was a distant dream that I wouldn't work towards. After suffering through daily warm-ups of two fast laps around the 400m (345m) track, the coaches put us through two more laps of dynamics. I was physically done by the end of the first lap. Yet I persevered, and all the pain instilled in me a feeling of accomplishment. I'd found hope in the world of "going to the gym".
Three: Reaffirmation of the principle that "practice makes perfect"
In order to throw longer distances, I needed to spend as much time possible working on my visualization, form, and follow through. Not only was I present at scheduled practices, I also made sure to come on the weekends if Coach said she was available. Slowly, I improved my technique on the javelin, shot put, and discus. When I saw the increasing marks at track meets, I knew that I had made it where I wanted to be.
Generally, I had an interesting experience on the team. I connected with people who I wouldn't necessarily have talked to if it weren't this environment. I bonded with my physical education teacher outside of the classroom and expressed my generous personality by acting as the de facto snack distributor. I overcame the challenges of my past fears and pushed forward, knowing that I had the indestructible love of God on my side. If I could go back to middle school, I would have started my track and field training earlier.