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Go the Distance

Angie Morgan, April 8, 2019

To persevere, I think, is important for everybody. Don’t give up, don’t give in. There’s always an answer to everything.  – Louis Zamperini

It’s that time of year … track.  Now, you might not be as obsessed about this sport as I am, but maybe you’ll appreciate it more when I relate it to talent.

So, backstory: for the past three years, the coaches of my son’s track team have allowed me to run with the distance runners in a pseudo coaching capacity.  (Pseudo because my travel schedule doesn’t afford me the opportunity to train with them everyday.)  For the past three years, I’ve been able to observe this group’s talent, hard work, and grit.  

Here’s what this experience has reinforced:

  • Champions are made in the off season.  If you want to be excellent during racing season, you have to be excellent when there’s no competition.  You must have the discipline to train with a greater goal in mind.
  • Hard work beats talent every single time.  Sure, there are the rare occasions when there’s talent so extraordinary that it doesn’t have to work too hard, but I’ve seen kids overcome tremendous talent gaps by their sheer effort.
  • Everyone’s got a game face.  Seriously.  Everyone.  But not everyone brings their game face to their race.  A game face symbolizes that you’re going to leave it all out on the track. Some people choose not to, even though they’re capable.
  • Your mind will quit before your body will.  It’s always interesting, especially in distance runs, to watch when people quit.  Not physically, but mentally.  Some people even quit before the starting gun goes off.  As humans, we’re capable of amazing feats – our minds have to be the driving force, though.
  • The only way to stay on top is to respect the competition.  I kicked off training last week reminding the fastest male and female runners that they need to look around … everyone else is trying to beat them.  And then I told everyone else, look at these two – try to beat them.  I reinforced that if we all push each other, each day we get better and, because we’re a team, if a teammate beats us, the only thing we can do is high five them and say, “great race” because they earned it.

So, to all the track fans, sports fans, and workers out there – have a great spring season!  And if you’ve got any great sport anecdotes or metaphors that you believe relate well to life, I’d love to hear them – email me at amorgan@leadstar.us.

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