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Discovery: Cross-Country Running

            For me, growing up is an endless process of discovery. It seems as if every day I stumble upon a new experience or encounter something I'd never known existed. Let me be honest - some of these are experiences I would not want to repeat. In the second grade I dance in front of my class in music, and it ended horrifically. My fellow peers laughed me off the stage so hard they ended up throwing paper at me, shouting things like "You suck!" and "Who taught you to dance?! An ape!".
             Needless to say, I have never danced publicly again. Other experiences, however, open up a whole new world of possibilities. Cross-country, one of my favorite sports, was one of those kinds of discoveries-the ones that make trying new things worth it in the end. .
             Up until seventh grade, I thought I'd been active in life. Not that my childhood and teen years hadn't been full and happy. I used to be happy doing paint-by-numbers, writing in various diaries, taking pictures of flowers; and more recently, boxing in tournaments and driving around town with my friends. Although these things still and always will give me pleasure, I had classified myself as a non-athletic person for so long I never would have imagined I'd enjoy being on a team as much as I did.
             You see, being on an athletic team is about so much more than physical competence. If it were based on that alone, this experience would definitely have fallen under the "I've learned my lesson: Never. Again." category. No, being on a team is belonging. A team is more than a group of competitive athletic jocks-it's a support unit of people that care for you and always have your back. It's a social network much better than Facebook: for this one will never go out of style. Being on a team creates the kind of connections that I'm confident will last for years. After cross-country, it is likely that all of us will go our separate ways. However if a team mate and I spot each other at a high school reunion once we are old and grown, we will remember, and we will talk, even if cross country is the only thing we ever had in common.

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