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.