Author: Emily Daggett, Senior, Track and Field
For me, the sport of Track and Field represents everything I love and fear in this world. Each time I step onto the track for a race, I must face my own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I think this is why racing scares me so much. It exposes my physical and mental limits because inevitably, I will reach a point in each race when my legs refuse to move quicker and my lungs cannot process oxygen fast enough. Basically, I just want to collapse and this feeling usually sets in about 200 meters into my 800 meter race.
I often ask myself why I run. With early morning practices every day of the week, tough workouts, and even tougher races, I find myself unsure of the reasoning behind my commitment to the sport. Apparently, something keeps me coming back for more. This is my eighth season of Track and Field and my fourth season competing for Oxy. In that time I’ve run almost every event from the 100-meter to the 3000-meter which gives me a lot of perspective on just how hard each member of the team works.
One thing I truly love about Track and Field is how it attracts so many different types of athletes. There are the distance and middle distance runners who race anything from the 800-meter to the 10,000 (a little over 6 miles). The sprinters and hurdlers cover the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 meter relays and the races shorter than the 800. Many sprinters also do jumping events, which include the long and triple jumps as well as high jump and pole vault. The throwers do exactly that. They throw the javelin, discus, shot put and hammer.
With so many diverse events, it can be difficult to develop a strong sense of team, but I think this season especially we have really improved in that respect. I think the difference this year is the dedication and enthusiasm the first-year athletes have brought to the team. The roster is made up of many underclassmen and I really give them all so much credit for making this season as exciting and successful as it has been so far.
I admit that at times I get in the mindset that track is a job and something I have to do. It loses meaning and joy. But when I see my teammates supporting one another it reminds me that we are a family. I know it’s sappy, but the “Tiger Track family” is something we talk about a lot. Once you are a part of the team, it is a support system that never goes away. Even after I graduate I know that the people I’ve met throughout my four years will always be in my life.
It seems to me that the Track and Field alumni continue to stay involved long after they leave the program. For example, many of our coaches are past team members, including our interim head coach Rob Bartlett. Rob took over this season and he has been doing an amazing job so far. I have to say I am truly impressed and I think the team’s overall positive spirit and dedication can be attributed to his leadership abilities. He demands everyone’s respect yet we all know he understands exactly what we’re going through. I think we all forget sometimes how hard it is to be a student athlete, but Rob is very sensitive to our schedules and stresses.
Overall I am so happy to be a part of Oxy’s Track and Field team this season. I think we have so much potential on both the men and women’s side to place well in the conference and gain experience for the future. Though I am more than ready to graduate, I am secretly jealous of all the younger members of the team because I foresee many great performances and memories in the years to come.
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