Mr. Del Monte
23 March 2015
A Common Purpose
Never before have I experienced such overwhelming nervousness and self-doubt than in this moment.
My first city final race: a small, scrawny, scared white boy lining up for his biggest race yet, completely unsure and overwhelmed by the much larger boys that grace my immediate surroundings. At this point, I am new to this. Unlike a team sport, when you are out on the track, the reality is that the result lies solely upon yourself. You have no one else to blame for any shortcomings that you may lay unfortunately upon you as a result of insufficient training, nerves, or a lack of confidence. As the pressure mounts, you realize that ultimately your result is on you, and no one else. Personally, I always have been able to satisfy my goals and work towards my dreams myself, without needing to rely on other people to reassure myself of my capabilities. I think this is why I have always been attracted to the idea of short sprinting, simply because it is up to me alone to dictate my results, and enjoy either the glory or dwell in the disappointment that follows as a result. Likewise, the young boys in this picture also share the same values, and our similarities have allowed us to connect through a common interest and a sport, in which without, we would be indifferent to each other today.
Looking back on this moment, I remember the feeling of uncertainty creeping up through my throat, and anyone who was anyone to each of us athletes could see that it was felt across the field. While their names were unknown to me back then, looking upon the photo now I can immediately recognize clearly Kevin (my current club sprints partner) and Kelvin (a runner for Etobicoke, and MPSJ). Only now is it that I begin to see the deeper meaning of this photo, and be mature enough to appreciate what this photo represents. Yes, it shows that from an early age one can generally judge someone’s athletic ability, in this case speed, however there is more than that to it: a deeper meaning, something that must be developed and observed over many years in order for this innocent photo to tell a story, a purpose far deeper than what a first time observer could begin to grasp upon glancing at this photo.
We as track and field athletes, sprinters, have been thrust into the competitive spotlight from such an early age that winning is engrained inside you just as naturally as a child’s aptitude in reading. Personally, my first real “Meet” experience was in grade two, where I was running up with the older boys relay team, as well as competing in the older 200m race, which no one in the year above could best me at. I was ahead of the game, something I pride myself upon in all aspects of life. To be the best, it is vital to have the confidence and constant belief that no one is better than you. In elementary school we started running out of love, skill, and playground bragging rights; a young boy running is about as traditional as it gets. However as years pass, and youthful innocence is replaced with knowledge of reality and the overwhelming opportunities for two-faced coaches to take advantage of an athlete’s skill and talent to better their reputation or for financial means (the case for any talented athlete), one begins to question how the act of running, something we all love, has turned into such a business away from the simple, blissful art that running is.
Every individual time that I gaze at this picture, I am drawn back to the fact that through common interest, whether it be in sport, activity, friendship, or blood relation, an interest together with others is enough to create a lifeline bond that in turn can turn into my definition family. Runners, sprinters, throwers alike and…