Sweat drips down my forehead, my back, my arms, it’s everywhere. Next there’s tears, not only running down my face, but as I look around it’s on everyone’s faces. I constantly hear struggling lungs inflating and deflating, over and over again, with yelps for help in between breaths. Blood comes next, knees and elbows bleed from falling, and my body has reached such a high inner temperature that there’s nothing else but to collapse in order to recover.
This might sound like it’s some sort of Chinese torture to you. But it’s not. It’s Track and Field at Mira Costa. It’s mine, and my team’s bodies being pushed to its maximum breaking capacity. Willingly.
Anger has filled my mind and confusing thoughts continue to build up after the result of the track meet we had against our rivals, Redondo High School, on April 30. The result wasn’t what we wanted – we lost. Boys varsity lost their streak of being Bay League Champions for what would have been our sixth year in a row. I’ve learned to accept the defeat, as hard as it may be, but I haven’t learned to accept that Redondo is a better than us.
Because I can’t and won’t accept that, I’m going to prove that we have more passion, more heart, and more desire to succeed than any other school.
Everything started on August 26. That’s when every athlete on the team began the journey of 36 weeks and three days of training. We have given it all, we have left it all on the track, and this passion for this sport can only be represented by the sounds I hear during practice coming from every single person.
The first sound I think of is the one of running shoes and track shoes shufflings against the polyurethane of the track, pushing deeper and deeper to reach more speed. That’s a sound I’m never going to forget, because after having finished my run and having already gone through the pain, I listen as many more experience the pain I felt just seconds ago.
The next sound is of lungs expanding and compressing, begging you for air, not letting you forget the excruciating pain you just put them through. To me, the finish line isn’t just where the race or the workout ends, it’s the area where the accumulation of all the teams lungs after a workout creates a symphony; it may not be a peaceful one, but it is one that sticks to my head and allows me to replay it whenever I want.
People always say yelling at someone isn’t effective and won’t get them anywhere, but in my eyes, that could not be farther from the truth. The cheering, screaming, and elevated vocalizations stemming from competitive atmosphere has been one of my main motivators for these past two years on the track team. I’m not only talking about my coach yelling at me to lift my knees higher, to put my chin down, and to swing my arms higher, but also about the roar of the crowd in the last 100 meters of the race, and the motivational chants of my teammates as I zero in on the end.
You’re neck to neck with your competitor. You don’t look at anything else besides the finish line, but you can still somehow hear the people on the bleachers beginning to scream at you to run faster, that you’re almost at the finish line, that you need to push more, and that’s exactly what you do. Just thinking about those screams gives make your heart palpitate and get an adrenaline rush because you begin to imagine the excitement you had in those last few seconds.
I am not the only one that feels this way about these sounds, I am just simply the only one that could put it into writing.
Every single one of these sounds, and more, is what has motivated the Mira Costa High School track team to success since 1950. We will continue to create legends on this track. One loss to one rival is not going to put us down, because as Mustangs, we have the strength to keep going forward, and most importantly, we have the passion that can only be found within a fine stallion like a Mustang.