Sunday, October 15, 2006

Harriers, The Makings of a Championship Cross Country Team

This is a relatively short novel based on a real story of a high school cross country team as told by Joseph and Paul Shivers. It's about a bunch of ordinary high school kids that find themselves in a mediocre cross country team. They all have raw athletic talent, some better than others. The story is really about how a great coach can overcome all obstacles and make you the best athletes possible. Reading this book, I came to the realization that all runners, great and otherwise, go through the same emotional highs and lows, through the same self doubt and despair to triumph like I do. As I wait for the gun to go off, I am always immersed in deep thought, all the training runs and injuries I had to endure, how I might do in this run etc. etc. In running, you really don't know what kind of race you will be having until after the gun goes off. Soon enough, your body will tell you, but until the rubber meets the pavement, you just don't know.

As I anticipate running a half marathon later this month and running the Houston Marathon in January, I will again go through the same doubts before the gun, hoping for a great run yet expecting the worst at the same time. This book reads the same way, bunch of high school runners, hoping for the worst yet expecting the best, a State Championship. Somehow, in sports, a difference between a Champion and a runner-up is so small that on any given race day, fate will mercilessly dole out different end results despite equally gutsy performance by all athletes involved.

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