Track is Who I Am, by Annika Ermold

Hi everyone! I wanted to write an article about why track is who I am. I have mentioned bits and pieces in some other articles, but I wanted to write one specifically on how I got into this sport and how it has shaped me into the person I am today.

To be honest, the way I got into this sport is pretty interesting. Our school held a field day in sixth grade, and shot put was one of the events listed. I did not think much of the event at the time, just did it because I needed to do another event and it seemed so different from everything else. After winning the shot put for field day, I started to become more interested and wanted to learn more about this event. Once I found out that the shot put was a field event for track and field, I knew that I wanted to try out track and field to see if it was really for me. At the time, I was still competing in basketball and lacrosse, but I wanted to see what track and field was all about. After winning the county championship in the discus while barely focusing on track and while playing lacrosse, my passion for the sport increased heavily and I knew that I wanted to continue learning more. I decided to give up lacrosse partially to focus more on track and because I could not handle some of the team drama that came along with that sport. Over the summer going into my eighth grade year I threw a little bit over the summer so that I could keep getting reps in, but I had aspirations of becoming a great thrower and knew if I stayed the course, good things would come along. I found out about Garage Strength, and made a trip up there in the beginning of eighth grade to see if this was for me. After my first day there, I loved the place and knew for sure that I wanted to continue throwing. I still was playing basketball though, because I was not quite ready to give up the sport that I grew up playing, but that meant I was barely able to train throughout basketball season for track. Once track season started, I had almost all of my attention on training for the season, with some occasional basketball tournaments on the weekends, but that did not interfere with training. After improving thirteen feet in the discus from my seventh to eighth grade year, I was ready to give up basketball and wanted to put all of my attention solely on track and field.

With all that was previously stated above, I am very happy that I chose to stay with track and field. At first it was hard, because I had to give up the sports that I basically grew up around and loved doing, but after feeling super passionate about track, I knew that I wanted to pursue this sport in high school and even at the collegiate level. After I started to train more at Garage, I started receiving so much support from everyone there, which made my transition into this sport a lot easier and better. I have received so much support over the years from my parents from all of the times they had to drive me there, the coaches for everything they have done for me, and the other athletes that train there that always support each other no matter what. Joining such a supportive community like Garage made me realize that track is my life, and when you are surrounded by good people, it makes things so much easier and better in the long run. Reflecting back on my decision now, quitting my other sports was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. I have formed relationships with some pretty amazing people and seeing how the track community supports each other is something not seen in a whole lot of other sports.

On another note, track and field over the years has taught me some lessons that I will forever be thankful for, especially this year, with the main one being patience. I feel that especially in a sport like track and field, one has to have patience in order to be successful in all aspects of this sport. Personal records can sometimes take months or years to even set/break, and improvements do not just happen over one practice. I realized a lot this summer about the importance of patience and how improvements can take months or even years to fully instill into muscle memory. Track is a sport full of highs and lows, and how one handles the highs shows how they might handle lows as well. After going through lows, I feel that I learn how to handle and appreciate the highs of the sport a little better. I am very lucky to have such a great support system around me constantly that helps me to appreciate this sport so much. Patience also has taught me that everything happens for a reason, and that things happen at certain times for certain reasons. Sometimes waiting longer for an improvement could mean either a bigger improvement or even a bigger sense of accomplishment after hitting that new personal record.

I just wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone that has constantly helped me with the meaning of patience, I am forever thankful for you all and appreciate everything you all have done for me.

To conclude, I will forever be thankful for what this sport has done for me and the opportunities that have arised from it. For every single person out there that has supported me in some way, I will forever be grateful for you. I will never take for granted all this sport has given me, because track is who I am.