My Last First Cross Country Meet

August 24, 2012

Today was the first meet of the 2012 Cross Country Season. My last Season.

Today was My Last First Cross Country Meet. And that really saddens me.

See, the thing is, I love my extra-curriculars. (Most of them.) Especially Cross Country. And I’ve been a part of the Gull Lake Cross Country Team since the first day of Summer before my Freshman year. On the guys Team, we often refer to each other as “Brother”. And, really, that couldn’t be closer to the truth. I’m a lucky kid, because I get two families: My biological family and my Cross Country family. I’ve spent more time with the Cross Country Team than any other group in all my years of schooling. At the very least, I spend about 2 hours a day with them at practice. Then, there are team dinners. Hang outs. Potlucks. Camps. Meets. Invitationals. Parties. School. And this goes on almost year round. If you’ll permit me to do some very loose math…this is in no way guaranteed accurate, but a good estimate (I believe) is that I’ve spent about 3,000 hours with the Cross Country guys, in 4 years. In fact, that number sounds a little small to me. That’s the equivalent of hanging out for 125 days.

There’s so much to love about Cross Country. The Head Coach is absolutely brilliant. Coach Portis has taught me incalculable amounts about the value of hard work. He’s taught me about strength of body, mind, and heart. He’s taught me how to fight. He’s taught me Life lessons that I’m not entirely sure I could find anywhere else. There’s just some things that your family, your friends, or your parents can’t teach you. Everyone needs a Coach Portis. Everyone needs a Life changer.

Every day, Coach Portis exponentially makes the world a better place. Each school year, he gets a new batch of kids on the Cross Country Team and in his Chemistry class. He doesn’t fail to touch and enhance the Life of each one of those kids. Pupils of his, armed with his lessons, step out into the world and work (maybe not always in the most obvious ways) to make it a better place. How could they not after being taught by someone like Coach Portis? Rumor has it, the world was a little bit brighter the day Coach Portis decided to teach High Schoolers.

The point is, how could I not miss Cross Country? Today was the start of the end. I can’t help but feel this weight in my stomach, knowing that it will come to an end eventually. Someday, I will have to say good-bye to the Cross Country Team. Someday, I will have to say good-bye to Coach Portis. Sure, I could still see a few of them after High School. I’ll probably go to a few meets to cheer them on. But it’s not the same. The fact of the matter is: Come this November, I’ll be running my last Cross Country race ever.

Maybe I shouldn’t dwell on it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the ride. And I will enjoy this last Season. I’ll enjoy the hell out of it. It’s going to be the best Season ever. It’s just…

Senior year is a year of Lasts. My Last Meet. My Last First Day of School. My Last Cross Country Camp. My Last Cross Country Season. My Last PAC Play. My Last Track Season. My Last Last Day of School. My Last Festival of the Senses. My Last Christmas Vacation. My Last Spring Break. My Last…Everything. It stinks that Cross Country has to be one of the first to go.

In the end, I love Cross Country. I’ve loved it since I showed up for my first day of Summer practices. I’ve loved it since Coach Portis saw me wearing a Middle School Cross Country sweatshirt after school one day, when I was meeting my Sister at the High School, and he said: “Oh, Cross Country! You’ll be coming out for the High School Team, right?” And I smiled and nodded.

I’ve loved and will love every last second of being on the Team.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

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One Response to “My Last First Cross Country Meet”

  1. Ryan Curtis Says:

    This, especially with that last picture, legitimately brought a tear to my eye


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