Track has officially started, finally. I have been waiting for this day to come since cross country ended in the fall, and it sure has taken forever. For me it’s also a first – my first season with my team since I came out.
These past few months of training have been hard. Going through the school day knowing that I still had to go run 8 miles after all of the work that I put in was killing me. I did not have a steady training partner during that time, which was also a struggle for me. The few running partners I had were people who I ran with only about one time a week. One of them was a cross town rival, so it was great to see him outside of the competitive races. We went on many runs and seeing him progress served as a great tool to make sure that I kept on getting out the door every afternoon. Since track has started I have teammates who I run with and depend on every day which is much better in my view.
Having a supportive team is one thing that all successful programs are built around. A basketball team would not be successful if all of the players were self-centered and did not pass to each other. A football team would not be successful if all of the players were not unified under the goal of trying to win the championship. A high school track team would not be successful if people were there only for their own personal gains.
Many people view track as a sport that is all built around the player instead of the team. This does not take place on a team that has a dynasty of winning league titles and districts titles. If people were in it for themselves they would not do extra events just to gain a few more points for the team.
On my track team we have come together in order to win every single dual meet as well as invitational. The team is more important than the individual. Our coach stated in one of the first few days of practice that the goal of our team is to win it all. We want to go all the way. We have the talent and the depth on our team; it just matters if people are able sacrifice a little in order for the betterment of the whole. I know I will be doing multiple events at every track meet as well as invitational.
I take this as an opportunity instead of a setback. Some people could see this as me sacrificing a little time in each race due to the fatigue that will set in after each race. I do not think of it this way because our team looks upon me and all of the others to gain as many points as possible. Also, being on the medal stand multiple times is a pretty nice reward. It will be grueling doing both the mile and two-mile at invites, but they are all set up in order to give us optimal amounts of rest in between each race. At some meets you have at least 5 hours in between these races because usually they are both the first event and the last event.
Some LGBT athletes they feel that their coming out will take away from the team dynamic that has been built. I have heard from some people that this happened to them on their own sports team, even so far as to the team being divided over the issue. I am lucky to say though that my team sees past my sexuality.
They see all of the hard work I am putting in every practice in order to achieve the best that I can do. I am happy to say that even though my mind went through the worst possible scenario that could take place hundreds of times before I came out as well as after I came out, that it all turned out well. Just remember, though, that we all have different situations and just because my own coming out went about as well as it could, that doesn’t mean everyone will have the same experience. There is no time limit on when you have to tell people, just do it when you are ready.