10 Takeaways From the Track Field

High school track season has just ended for us.

I will be the first to admit, that track meets are BORING, and that the experience is nothing like going to a softball game. But ya know…you do what you have to do, and watching our kids compete and do their thing is one of those gifts that life gives us. So you go. You show up. Because that’s what parents do.

And like everything in life, there are new things to be learnt around every corner. And track was no exception. There are some pretty good things going on in track and field, that us as softball families can learn from. 

  1. Sometimes in life, it’s all about the PR! Getting a ‘personal record’ in track is a big deal. Shaving a few seconds here and there off a time, well thats a win. And it’s a win, even if you come in last place. In softball we tend to think we are only winning, when we come home with a trophy – and that’s just not true. We need to be excited about the progress and the process too…. We need to see the small accomplishments and growth made every week with our players, and we need kids to push themselves to achieve a PR of some sort every weekend. If every kid playing any sport was asked to make one weekly goal for themselves each week of play, there would be less frustration.
  2. A winner is a winner~ This is one of the best things about running events. Yes, track is a team sport in that the team wins based on how many placements they secure. However, in track – there is no doubt about who the clear cut winner is. Who the best is. It is NOT a matter of opinion! It is a matter of a clock that doesn’t lie. It doesn’t matter if Suzy’s mom or the coach ‘want’ or believe someone else is the star of the show, because politics don’t alter the results of who finishes the finish line first.
  3. When it’s all said and done, the athlete him or herself is the ONE PERSON responsible for making him or herself better! No one can do it for them. It all comes down to them.
  4. When our children are put up against better athletes than they are, if they are true athletes…they perform better. This is critical. We can’t be afraid to let our kids play in the ‘fast heat.’ Even if they get smoked, chances are if they have the grit that makes any athlete successful, they will do better themselves. 
  5. It’s all about finishing. Not everyone is going to win. In track there is one clear cut winner. But finishing, even if you are in last place – is important too. In fact, finishing is what it is all about. At track meets, athletes cheer and pull for every runner, even he or she who has been lapped and is in last place, because crossing the finish line is what it’s really about. Quitters never win. Or finish. 
  6. Everyone is capable of competing somewhere! We may all be at different levels, different places – we are all at a different pace in our lives, but it is for NO-ONE else to tell us what we can or cannot do!
  7. The most important person we should be competing against is ourselves. Making ourselves better each and every time is what is most important. Pushing ourselves to be better today, than we were yesterday or the week before. We are only in competition with ourselves.
  8. Athleticism wins out. A well rounded ATHLETE always wins out in the end.
  9. Practice more than you play. Training for track, athletes run A TON all to prepare for just one or two or three events. Runners spend hours training and conditioning. They don’t have the luxury of using game time to prepare. They take practice just as seriously as they do their events during a meet.
  10. Everyone has good days and bad days. The times can vary greatly for a runner. One weekend they may be at peak performance and other days they may be off. It happens. Its part of life and part of being an athlete.

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