The sun had just edged over the horizon on an early September Saturday when I embarked on the one-and-a-half-hour drive from Birmingham to Moulton. All along I-65 the trees were just starting to turn yellow as fall set in. It was officially cross country season.
Crisp air greeted the team as we arrived at our first cross country meet of the year: Chickasaw Trails. As a senior, I have run the course numerous times, but for many of our younger runners, it would be their first time on the course—for some their first race ever.
It was a beautiful day for a race. Despite the absence of several members of the varsity team who were taking the ACT, everyone ran their best. For some, that meant a first or second place finish (Hallie Porterfield and Hunter Wright); for others, the top 30; still others, simply finishing the race or running the whole way. It was not about getting a certain time or place; there was no pressure for anyone. It was just about having fun and getting to compete. And even if running isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, it’s still great to enjoy the joys of being part of a team and working hard to cross the finish line knowing you did your best.
An unexpected bright spot for the day came when the middle school girls’ team placed third out of twenty-eight teams bringing home their first trophy of the year.
Prospects are bright for this year’s cross country team, which will hopefully foster a love for the sport in younger runners to keep the tradition going for years to come.