As the cross country season approaches, things become more uncertain. We’ve known all summer that this season isn’t going to be normal; but now, we aren’t even sure if it’s going to happen. As a senior, it’s hard to accept how much coronavirus is taking away from me, and I’m sure my fellow seniors understand. The thought of possibly losing my last year as a high schooler has been in my head constantly over the past few weeks. But recently, I learned a very important lesson that I want to share with anyone out there who is worried about the upcoming year.
A few months ago, I learned about a little girl, Harper, in my hometown who had been in a tragic accident that left her without parts of both of her feet. Her grandparents reached out to me, saying she really wanted to meet the cross country team, so we invited her and her family to one of our practices. They arrived with signs to cheer us on, and we had a dance party with Harper before our run, because she wanted to show us her moves. However, the most amazing part of that practice was when Harper explained why she wanted to meet us. A four year old who is learning to walk with prosthetics said that she wanted to watch us run because she was going to run one day, even if she had to learn to do it differently from us. In her eyes, her accident is just one more obstacle in the way of what she wants, not a permanent set back. She’s not afraid of having to do things differently.
So, as we approach an uncertain year, we should see things from Harper’s perspective. If this cross country season happens, it will be different; but, as we’ve learned from Harper, different doesn’t mean bad. This virus is just one obstacle we have to overcome, so we should accept whatever changes are made to the season with a positive attitude. And, should the season be cancelled, I have some advice for the seniors. Be grateful for the time you’ve had. Every day after school, we had the luxury to lace up our sneakers and go off on runs to laugh and joke around with our teammates. We got to experience the feeling of racing: how it brought our teams closer together, how it felt to cross the finish line seeing a PR on the clock, and the pride in knowing we did our best. A lot of people have it worse than Harper, and they’ll never get the chance to experience any of the things we’ve been blessed with. Think back on the memories you’ve made often, and treasure the time you have with your team, however much we have left.