Rewards of Cross-Country Outweighed The Challenges

8 Reasons Why Running Cross Country Was The Best Decision I Made In High School

I decided to spend my time in high school by hitting the trails and competing in races.

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The common phrase of "our sport is your team's punishment" is true in fact. The thought of running for pleasure seems to frighten or shy people away from cross-country. However, as a three-year cross-country runner in high school, I found this sport to be rewarding. I mean there were definitely some moments that were challenging. Nonetheless, the benefits of cross-country running outweighed the challenges. I will be explaining 8 reasons why running cross-country was the best decision I made:

1. Passing someone in a race and succeeding in that was glorifying

While racing, I never liked when someone would pass me, and as a way to tackle this issue I would try and pass runners along the course. This was sometimes difficult to complete especially when you start getting tired, but that moment of passing someone was satisfying.

2. Our team chant and pep talks before a race made me feel pumped

It was a tradition that before heading to the starting line of a race, the team would participate in a chant and have a pep-talk. The captain of the team would stand in the middle of the circle and begin saying 'can't stop', then the team would repeat what the captain would say. Followed by "gotta go" and "gotta get it." Each time these phrases would be repeated the team would get louder and louder until everyone was screaming. Followed by a finale of the entire team screaming out our mascot, the Wildcats.

3. Our team was diverse which made everyone feel at home

As a member of the team, each runner was unique in their own way. Our team had diversity, and that was greatly appreciated. Whether if someone was a different ethnicity, was involved in different clubs, or was a freshman or a senior our team had it all. Each person each contributed something different to the team.

4. It taught me to practice good sportsmanship  

Running cross country has made me value congratulating each runner for their hard work. Whether they won an award at a race, or got a personal best or if a runner is improving or simply finishing their race. Cross country running taught me to be humble and believe in my teammates.

5. I have become disiplined and developed a routine

During summer training camp, practices were early in the morning and that required us to not sleep in whenever we had practice. During the racing season in the fall races were Saturday mornings. As a cross country runner, I have learned to wake up early and run as much as I can.

6. Cross country emphasises on individual improvement 

As much as cross country is a team sport, runners competed against themselves. There were never no timeouts in a race and runners were given medals for their own individual place and time.

7. Crossing the finish line in a race is always an accomplishment

Whether if I got a personal best or not in a race, it was always rewarding to see the finish line after three miles of running. As soon as I would begin to see the finish line, I would give it all I got and sprint as fast I can until I crossed the finish line.

8. Having a team that was always encouraging 

Last, but not least, the team is what made me stick with cross country. From all the camping trips, and to summer running, seeing each team member grow in their leadership skills and running makes me be happy that I decided to run cross-country.

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Dear Soon-To-Be Seniors

These are a few things we'd like to tell you about Senior year.
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Dear soon-to-be high school seniors,

Goodbye. As the class of ahead of you, we've watched you grow, always one step behind us. As we graduate, there are some things I'd like to tell you about your last year of high school.

Yes, Senior year can be just as amazing as everyone says it is, if you make it that way. But don't think it's a blow-off year with no work. This year may hold some of the most stressful times of your life.Be prepared for late nights writing papers or hard tests that could make or break your graduation status. However, don't stress too much about homework. A question I often asked myself this year was, "in twenty years, will I remember staying up till 2am studying for Econ? Or will I remember a fun night with my friends?" Ok, probably not the best advice if you don't have the best of grades, but most of the time you stress yourself out for no reason and miss out on fun things.

Another thing, try to get on the college grind early. If you haven't already, start looking at colleges and applying! Then narrow it down as soon as you can. You don't want to be stressed about that decision in the last month of senior year. Honestly, the sooner you can make your decision, the happier and less stressed you will probably be.

It's not too late to join new things either; a lot of people join a sport or a club senior year and have a lot of fun because of it. So try that thing you've always wanted to join! Speaking of which, go to prom! I won't tell you prom is the best experience of your life because for some people it's not, but it's pretty amazing. Don't stress too much about getting a date, either the right guy/girl will show up, or you'll just go with your friends and still have a blast.

Don't be too rude to the underclassmen. You were that young just a few years ago. And they're the ones who usually put your senior nights together, so make sure you thank them. Also keep in mind that they are looking up to you. Remember those seniors you looked up to just a few short years ago? Be a good example. Take your place in the school as Seniors and continue where we left off; carry on the legacy of your school and be proud of it.

If your school does Kairos (or a similar senior retreat), be absolutely open to it! If it's your thing, enjoy it! If it's not your thing, still try to be open to it. You don't have to love it, but at least don't hate on it before you've even been. Bonding with your class is a big part of senior year. I made so many new friends this year that I never thought I would if it hadn't been for Kairos.

Speaking of which, be open to new friends. Whether they're seniors or not, talk to everyone. In a few months, you may never see those kids again, so it's worth getting to know them past just being friends on Facebook. Also, don't give up on dating people in your class. Yeah, there's only a few months left and you've spent the last 4 years with these people, but there might be one person out there who could change your whole year for the better if you give them the chance.

Above all, enjoy it. You only get one senior year, so make it count. Go to everything you possibly can: every football game, dance, party, musical, bonfire, etc. Enjoy wearing the jersey of your team for the last time, taking your last bow on your high school stage, and turning in your last final, because it will all be gone within the blink of an eye. You'll find yourself walking down the aisle in a cap and gown of those same school colors you thought you despised (but really, you'll secretly miss). You'll look at your favorite teachers lined up behind you and your family sitting in front of you, and most importantly your class around you, and I hope, I really hope, you don't regret a single moment of senior year.

Cover Image Credit: Anna Skog

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The NBA Draft Lottery In A Nutshell

A quick overview of the 2019 NBA lottery and which teams got the best picks.

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The NBA draft lottery took place on Tuesday night where all of the NBA teams were looking to see their fate heading into the 2019 draft. Many people know that anything can truly happen with a lottery. This year proved that statement again as the New Orleans Pelicans claimed the number one overall pick. The Pelicans had just a six percent chance of claiming the number one pick yet they still beat the odds. The Pelicans are now in the driver seat with picking up top prospect Zion Williamson from Duke University. Most teams that knew they weren't making the playoffs tried to tank this year in order to pursue the college basketball icon.

As for the remaining top five picks, the Memphis Grizzlies got the number two overall pick, the New York Knicks with the number three overall pick, the Los Angeles Lakers at number four, and finally the Cleveland Cavaliers at number five. Most of the teams with the highest percentage of claiming the #1 overall pick did not even make it in the top five which is rare. An example of this is the Phoenix Suns who had one of the worst records in the NBA this past season with a record of 19-63. The Suns got screwed over at this year's lottery where they claimed the #6 pick.

The teams that got the most out of this year's lottery were the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Atlanta Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks, in my opinion, got the benefit of the doubt this year as they have secured two spots in the first 10 draft picks of the 2019 NBA Draft. There is a lot of talent in this draft class so this is a make or break draft for a lot of these struggling teams. Prospects like RJ Barrett, Ja Morant, Jarrett Culver, and Cam Reddish. A lot of these prospects are ready to make an impact on whatever team they end up on. As for the projected number one overall pick Zion Williamson, he has gotten compared to NBA greats such as Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.

During an interview with Bill Simmons on his podcast show, NBA star Kevin Durant said that Zion is a once-in-a-generation athlete. The 2019 NBA draft should be quite interesting to see where these top prospects end up playing for. One thing is for almost certain in that the New Orleans Pelicans are going to end up with Zion Williamson with the number one overall pick in this year's draft. With that being said the Pelicans could have quite a bright future with this future star and hopefully, the rookie can help keep NBA star Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Anything can happen though during the NBA draft and we will just have to wait and see what happens.

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