On this date three years ago I was incredibly honored to be inducted into my high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. I was grateful to have my family and closest friends be in attendance.
I was also lucky to have been as successful as I was. A lot of hard work went into that success and I can remember the accolades and accomplishments but it’s the little things I cherish and miss the most about sports.
I don’t brag much about what I achieved but I did score 1,000 points in basketball. I do remember it was on a three pointer at Kent Place shortly into the second quarter. I also remember that the AD, Mr. Quirk and one of my favorite teachers, McMill traveled to to be there which I greatly appreciated (because of course I couldn’t score it at a home game and it had to be at one of our further opponents). I remember the very creative poster attached with candy that my mom made for me and I was so glad her and my dad could be there for my 1,000th point.
I did pretty well in cross country in high school as well. I won a State Prep XC title my junior year but I remember our van ride back which including my horrible singing of “Alaskan rock superstar” Jewel. This singing eventually got worked into my end of year project for Myslik’s English class.
My senior year of college cross country went perfectly. I stayed healthy, ran personal bests, earned All-Region honors and placed in the top 50 at Nationals. As a team we were Region Champs and placed 9th at the National Championship.
What I remember about my last season of xc is how close we all were and how much we pushed each other. I remember our final practice before heading to Nationals, a short track workout. I remember how all seven of us were packed together clicking off 800s at a pretty good pace. I knew we would do well at Nationals after that workout because we all were right there pushing each other.
I also remember how supportive the runners not traveling with us were. I wanted to do well for them too because they were such a big part of our success as well. I never felt so close with a team until that last year of cross country and I was proud of how well we did.
One thing I still remember from high school cross country is cresting the hills, something my coach Mr. Brandt always emphasized. It’s the idea that you accelerate as you get to the top of the hill, a time when many runners slow down. I used this when I was coaching and my runners my first year got me a little gift with “crest the hills” engraved on it, which was so thoughtful.
In high school basketball, I remember in my senior year getting to go with our coach and teammates on a trip to Madison Square Garden to watch Tennessee women’s team play. Tennessee was my favorite women’s team and I loved Pat Summit so the chance to see them in person is something I’ll never forget.
In high school softball I remember our spring break trips every year but I remember the jokes my catcher would always tell me to loosen me up when I got nervous on the mound. I remember our infamous stop at Burger King freshman year where I put a crown on and got my nickname “Queenie.”
In college cross country and track, I remember the parties, the semis and trips to Nationals. But I also remember how so many track teammates in different events: the pole vault, the high jump, shot put, sprints, would always cheer for us distance runners every lap around the track, something I greatly appreciated that helped keep me going.
There are so many more sports memories that I could go on and on about but it’s really the little things that mattered and stuck with me more than the big things. They are what make sports so special and so hard when our playing days are over. The van rides, locker room conversations, talks on runs, talks with coaches, the support and hard work from your teammates that helped motivate you.
I can play in a woman’s softball league or run in a road race and get nerves like I used to when I played sports but those small things are no longer there and they are what I miss most: the bonding and work with teammates that I’ll never forget.
Though my playing days are long over, the memories remain and for that I am thankful.