Running is an individual sport? No way. I learned everything I
know about teams from my high school running days. While now football
is one of my favorite sports to watch it was a horrible team experience
for me in grade school. I think I got hit in the head with a football
at the first practice. My basketball skills weren't much better.
However, it was my cross country teammates when I was a freshman at
Carroll that taught me the power of a team.
Cross country officially scores 5 out of 7 runners on varsity but it
takes much more of a team to make a great team. As a testament to our
strength as a team we had 35 members by my senior season. It was
important for us to have depth and competition for those top spots. We
pushed each other very hard at workouts and during races. No man was
ever left behind. If anyone gave less than 100% you could be sure that
someone would pull them up and make sure they gave it their all.
I can remember our senior year in '88 as we prepared for City,
Regional and State having a team prayer service with Fr. Watson and we
all took turns lighting a candle and expressing how important our
teammate support was to each of us. When race day came we would put
our fastest 7 on the line but the whole team was with the varsity in
spirit! As anyone that has raced knows there are those times in the
middle of competition when a runner doubts his strength but I never
wanted to let my team down and knowing my team was there with me I
would push through even stronger. Those shared thoughts during that
service had a profound effect on my mental ability to run.
We would also run in packs and take out our competition one person
at a time! When other teams would see us coming and get passed by a
pack of Carroll runners they would just fold! It was the power of
teamwork that started a string of City League Championships for Carroll.
Every good team needs a coach! I was blessed to have Larry Dostert
as my coach. Carroll was very fortunate to also then have Winston and
then Fernando as coaches to keep the intensity and the tradition
alive! To this day I always make sure I have a coach for my faith,
home and work. Life is like a race and we are all teammates.
Everything I have helped accomplished has been through the power of a
team. Today I feel like I am giving back by being a coach to my kids
both at practice and at home. I want them to run the race of life to
achieve their goals.
It has been fun to watch the impromptu team form through the
dailymile web site. It is the accountability and camaraderie that has
propelled me to come back from my injury last fall and get back into
running shape. I love those Saturday morning runs.
I would encourage anyone reading this that feels the same way to
take a moment and thank a coach and/or their teammates for helping you
become a better you! I know every time I see the team pictures I am
reminded that together anything is possible!