Making friends, learning life skills in cross country

Spencer Massicot Teen Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Spencer Massicot
Teen Columnist, The Friday Flyer

The end of the first season of sports is fast approaching and that will also mark the first trimester of school. It has gone very fast and, with only one more meet left, I would like to reflect on the season.

Cross Country looks pretty easy and when I signed up I had no idea what I was in for. The practices are so intense and the sport takes so much determination. The main idea of the sport is wrapped up in one quote: “Anyone can run until it hurts; that’s when cross country comes in.”

The thing I like about the sport is how you never know what is going to happen. You can be having a really good day and set a personal record, or you can have a bad day and know it from the start of the race.

Before a race, everyone is really nervous making sure they have enough time to get warmed up and get those last minute stretches in.

Waiting at the starting line is the worst part for me, knowing that in the next few seconds the race will have started. Once the gun goes off and the first about half mile is over, the nerves go away and I am focused on positioning myself in the place I want to be and making all of the moves I can to get ahead.

I have never medaled at a race, but I do not let that get me down like it does to some other people. I know that if I keep training and working at it as hard as I can, I will get a medal and move up from JV to varsity. I did not start out in the sport as a good runner; the most I had ever run before without stopping was a mile and a half. I am now able to easily do four and a half miles at practice.

Cross country has also shaped me to be a better person. I am in the best shape of my life and I am so much more disciplined. I have learned to fully commit to something and do everything I can to do my best at it.

Spencer stands with his dad, Bill Massicot, after a race. Photo provided by Spencer Massicot.

Spencer stands with his dad, Bill Massicot, after a race. Photo provided by Spencer Massicot.

Being in any sport teaches valuable skills like time management. When I am not getting home from practice until 5:30 or 6 on most days, I have to deal with the ever growing homework load as fast as I can, without making it sloppy. I have figured out that, if I have something due the next week and I have some extra time with nothing better to do on the weekends, that I should probably get some of it done.

I have also made a bunch of new friends from being on the team. The whole team is like one big happy family and everyone cheers each other on.

During the races, when I am far out from the start and finish and I am all by myself with no one to cheer me on, it is harder to keep pushing the same pace.

But when I start to get closer to the finish or I am coming around for another loop, everyone is cheering and It gives me the motivation to keep going because all of these people want me to do well.

For the last 200 meters, I give 100 percent because I don’t really care if I don’t feel good when I finish as long as I know I gave it everything that I had.

The feeling you get after a race is great because you know that you have accomplished something that a lot of other people cannot do.

Most of the races are three miles and are over all kinds of different terrains, so everyone has plenty of opportunities to pass each other and to establish their position. To be good at cross country you cannot let hills or a lot of different changes in the terrain affect you.

So far, with one more league race left in the season, Elsinore JV boys are in 3rd place out of six for the Sunbelt League.

Cross country has also opened my eyes to my future; I have started thinking about running cross country in college.

I have run on nationally famous courses like Mt. Sac., which is mostly hills and is where CIF is usually held, and the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, which is completely flat and has been around for 35 years. The coaches have said that, when applying for colleges, having a good time on those courses will really get you ahead.

As this season comes to a close, I am so proud of myself for everything that I have done and I plan to keep training to be ready for next season.


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Spencer Massicot