To the common observer, cross country is most definitely not a team sport.
Each athlete runs his/her own race, then the only quasi-team aspect of the sport is the sporting being calculated collectively.
The way we do cross country at Roberts Wesleyan challenges this notion.
This weekend both the men’s and women’s team were victorious at the conference meet for the third consecutive year. While the result is impressive, it is the process that really makes the argument for a team sport.
Matt, Keith, and I are the three seniors on the team this year. We have done just about every run together for the past few months from easy runs to workouts, to long runs.
In Saturday’s meet, the three of us started out together in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. By the middle of the race, we moved into the lead and continued running stride for stride with each other as we pulled away from the competition.
To capture how unique of a moment this was, the three seniors running together in the lead at the conference meet, coach yelled at us at the four-mile mark “this is a special moment, have fun with it.” Keith would move up just a few seconds as he claimed the gold in 25:57 for 5 miles, Matt took the silver in 26:01, and I took the bronze in 26:02. Not to be outdone two of our freshman Josiah and Chris worked together the whole way and finished in 26:19 and 26:25 good enough for 4th and 6th.
The results capture the domination. But they do not capture the process. We ran like a team. We are five fit individuals but we ran like a team.
We stayed together. We worked together. We helped each other out. We did not let our own personal pride come in the way.
We finished in first place and with a lethal 1-5 spread of 28 seconds!
Our team will really be put to the test on November 5th at the regional championships. How much are we willing to suffer for each other to reach our goal? How much are we willing to give?
We will not run our best by running like individuals. We need to run like a team.