Full Circle

September 12, 2012

The Gull Lake Cross Country Team has the best fund-raiser on the face of the planet. It is known by all Gull Lakers who love to run as: The 24 Hour Marathon. And I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

The 24 Hour Marathon is pretty simple. We start at 9:00 on a Friday morning with our fastest guy runner (Sam B. this year) running a mile on the Track. When he finishes his mile, he passes the Marathon Baton off to the second fastest guy runner (Sam S. this year). Then he runs a mile. And so on and so forth until we get to the slowest guy runner. The slowest guy runner then passes the Baton off to the fastest girl runner. And when we get to the slowest girl runner? It goes right back to the fastest guy runner. And we cycle like that for 24 Hours. The 24 Hour Marathon. The catch is, once the first runner starts, once the gun goes off…? There’s no leaving the Track. We even sleep at the Track. (Most people sleep in their cars next to the Track.) On the surface, it may seem like a very bizarre workout. In truth, it’s a huge Team Party. By far, one of the best parts of every Cross Country Season.

In between our runs, we’re free to do whatever we want. We listen to music. We play soccer. We eat. We hang out. We read. We play games. We dance. We go for cool-downs or warm-ups. We stretch. We nap. We compete in a “Guess-the-Teammate” game for $5 from Coach Portis. We tell jokes. We do tricks. (With our fellow candlesticks.) In general, we just have…a really, really, really good time.

It’s a shame I’ve already had my last one. All things come to pass. Even good ones. I know that. I’ve learned that. Especially in the last few months.

The point of this blog, though, is not for me to talk about leaving things behind. It’s to talk about Full Circles. And the first Full Circle that I’ve made this year took place at the 24 Hour Marathon…

So, my Freshman Year…I was easily intimidated by the hulking Upper-Classmen. And in my Freshman 24 Hour Marathon, the Baton was being handed to me by the most intimidating Senior I’ve ever met: Adam. Before Adam was on the Cross Country Team…he was a Football Player. Do you see where I’m going with this? Basically, Adam was this huge wall of pure muscle who often took pleasure in getting an occasional…jump out of me (totally harmless). So, there he was, sprinting the last 100 meters of his mile right at me. Right at me! There I stood, this tiny Freshman. There he was, this monstrous Senior. And one was about to converge upon the other.

Adam let out a feral roar.

I let out a feeble whimper.

Adam sprinted closer. (Did I mention he was the number one sprinter on our Track team too? He was.)

I held out my hand and started to jog along, waiting for the Baton to pass from the lion to the lamb. Adam was going too fast, though…

I started to speed up-!

But it was too late.

Adam crashed into me and the Baton flew into the air. Time seemed to move like molasses as everyone’s eyes watched the Baton spiral through the air…Somewhere, I think a baby started crying. Somewhere, I thought I heard a cardboard box full of puppies start whimpering.

And the Baton fell. It fell so far for so long. I watched in terror as the Baton hit the ground and bounced once or twice, taunting me, until it came to a rest. I snatched it up and took off sprinting. You can bet, I did not look back. The unfortunate thing about running a mile on a Track, though…is that you go in a circular sort of motion. So, I had to eventually face my teammates. It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. It wasn’t that bad at all, actually.

That’s not the kind of team we are.

And then there’s this year. This year, my Senior Year, on my very first handoff…

Yeah, I dropped the Baton again. I came Full Circle. No matter how much you change over four years, Life has funny ways of reminding you that you are yourself. Freshman Brian and Senior Brian are lightyears different in a lot of ways. I’m taller. I style my hair differently. I have new friends. I’ve had different experiences. (Despite what I may sometimes say, I don’t know that I’m much more mature…) I’ve found acting since then. My sister’s moved out. I’ve taken and passed Chemistry. And I’m taking AP Chemistry. (Jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll pass.) I’ve learned dozens of life lessons from dozens of classic novels. I’ve met people. I’ve forgotten people. I’ve become a new person. Freshman Brian and Senior Brian are so different.

And yet…I still dropped the Baton.

I’d like to think that I’m the same where it counts.

The other night was Senior Night for the Cross Country Team. Our last race on our home course. (I promise this ties in. I really do.) And all the parents made posters of their Senior and their 4 (or however many) years of Cross Country. And I was looking at all these pictures of me, and every year I looked different. Every year I had new hair and a new face and a new style. And yet, I would look at the grin on my face and see an unmistakable likeness to the one I wear now. I could feel the very same grin spread across my face as this thought occurred to me.

I still dropped the baton. I’m still me. I’m still an Idiot. I’m still a Superman in training. I still have that stupid grin. I’m still…Brian.

I’ve come Full Circle.

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

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