To the average person, track and field may seem boring or like a waste. Nobody wants to be in the sun, on uncomfortable bleachers, watching people sprint to the line. Believe it or not, most people won’t put themselves in such a situation. Had I not been a track athlete in 8th-grade, I would probably have believed the same thing and watched basketball instead. Track is not just about the athletes. There are many hours spent training, coaching and improving to get that first place or achieve a specific goal or throw the winning range. It has been the most demanding, exhausting and rewarding commitment I’ve ever made. It’s not easy, and you need to be mentally tough. I, as well as any potential members, must have athleticism to perform at your best and be the best. If you asked me, “Why is track-and-field important to you?” then I would write a short essay. Track and field has made me a more self-motivated, dedicated, and hard-working young woman.
Track community is very close knit. There are a lot of teams that compete against eachother, and you will often see them at the track meet. This sport is a great way to make friends, particularly within your team. Arkansas State’s team meets twice a year to stay focused. Our coaches send us text messages or e-mails to remind us of important events. There isn’t much jargon or slang in track. All of track and fields is pretty basic and straightforward. We will joke that if you get hurt you are worth points. It’s not a true compliment, but it is a kind of one. Also, many events are abbreviated. In the race, we would not say 100 meter dash but only the hundred. All races are affected. For throwing events, you can use the shortenings shot to shot, discus or javelin instead of javelin. The jumpers will use long jump instead of triple jump. Track and field isn’t as complicated as football or basketball. It’s all about throwing far, jumping high, running fast and scoring the most points. It’s that simple.
Track and field members are listed in the following order: Head coach, specialty coaches then athletes. It is very simple, but each group has a number of coaches. There are coaches for throws, long distance, sprinters, hurdlers, 400-800 meter, jumps and pole vault. There are also 80-100 athletes who are divided up by their specialization. Each coach has between seven and ten athletes. The cross-country/long-distance group has about 20-25 athletes. Freshmen like myself are the newcomers. We are trained the same way the upperclassmen train, and expected to be just as or more hard-working to beat them. This applies also to those attempting to ‘walk-on’ to the team. It is difficult to understand how walk-ons work. Track community is open to everyone, including track athletes. Track community athletes are free to compete at any meet that they choose, representing themselves. When you walk on for a team, you represent the organization. They must train harder because they weren’t recruited for the team. They have to tryout once the season starts. Every member is expected to perform at a high level, regardless their age.
The track is filled with people. During practice and competitions, there are many things happening. Throwers are very important in the track community because of five throwing competitions. The spring outdoor track will have four of the five throws going on simultaneously (hammer and discus), which could result in a team score of forty points. (10 points for each event if you win). The ability of the sophomores is what I need to catch up on, but my size will be less. I am smaller and must work harder to improve my speed, technique and strength. The next few months will require patience on my part. The track and Field community seemed small at first. My contribution seemed to be insignificant. By focusing my attention on myself, I was able to help my team get close to many wins. In order to become a better athlete, I had no choice but to improve myself. It was important to me to be able to cheer myself up when I made a poor throw. I need to work harder to improve my throwing technique. I must now learn patience because success doesn’t come overnight. I have put in many hours of training and long workouts to achieve my goal of becoming a champion at the conference.
You are encouraged to do your best for the team but also for yourself. Track and Field is different from other sports. You are the focus of everything. You are responsible for all your successes and mistakes. Track has shown me that I am capable of striving for the best. It taught me how to be confident, independent, strong, and focused. I also learned to be aggressive, persistent, and persistent. All these lessons I learned are now part of my daily life. Track has taught me to be patient, work hard and be self-motivated in order to reach my life goals. Track and field is my favorite sport.