To give you a little back story, I am a mom to five boys. Five very different, very active (in their own ways), very BOY boys. Going into parenthood, I knew we would touch all the basics – baseball, football, basketball and maybe some soccer. We knew we’d let them “try it all” but little did we know how much more there really was.
Our family landed in track by chance. It was not ever on our radar and not ever anything we saw our boys trying. My oldest started a new school and was asked to give it a shot by a coach that was looking to build his team. The rest is history.
In our 7+ years of track, we have watched great runs. We have watched terrible runs. We have seen phenomenal finishes and lost qualifying races we knew were in the bag. And boy-oh-boy have we learned and grown so much in those years.
The sport of Track and Field has been a gift.
Unlike most traditional sports, It is not the errors or the missed tackles, the free throws or the ability to work with your teammates to get the win. Track is so, so different. You will never win every single race nor will you ever run the same race you did last meet. Your seconds and inches will always be different. Always.
Track is a sport that you don’t have to be a one talent athlete. You don’t have to run the fastest race or jump the highest jump. You don’t have to win first at every meet. The opportunity to compete and the opportunity to succeed on a track team is almost endless. There isn’t just one position for a long jumper or just one position for a hurdler. There are multiple entries available for long jump and just as many for every other event at a track meet. The opportunity for an athlete to shift focus and the opportunity for them to navigate their sweet spot of an event is there for the taking. Track is a constant evolution for the athlete.
Looking back, track has given us some of the most gut wrenching moments. We have been overcome with nerves and anxiety; we have jumped up and down at photo finishes; we have cried happy and we have cried sad. All over some seconds and a couple laps around a track. Track has been worth it and is forever one of the best decisions we didn’t make.
We have watched one son grow into discipline and another let go of the high standards he holds himself to. We have gained the ability to look at the last race or the last jump and figure out how to do better. We have been given the gift of a growth mindset.
This year, we are looking at a ticket to the AAU Junior Olympic Games – with the son that was convinced he was never going to succeed at that first meet. That broken little boy that jumped feet below his PR has powered through his season and grown to shift his mindset; the mindset that qualified him to compete at the national level. We will always be thankful for those few hard races that led us here.
Track is a special sport, y’all. It is unlike any other and something I urge you to give a shot, even just for a season. Competitors range from 6-year-olds to adults of all ages.