Sport of all sports

Track, Field Incorporates Many Sports

Many JHS competitors from different athletic backgrounds join together and compete in the eclectic sport of track. Among them, Junior Kayleigh Damron, will participate in the State 5A Championship at the University of Texas in Austin on May 10.

Contestants partake in the sport for a variety of reasons; some do it for personal reasons whilst others see it as a means to an end.

Shot put thrower Carson Nichols said, “My mom was a regional qualifier all four years of high school.”

While Nichols’ reasoning holds sentimental reasoning, some other athletes have more physical reasons for their participation.

Relay runner J.D. Davis said, “[I want] the speed necessary to be successful in football.”

Keeping a cool head during an event may seem like a form of black magic to many people, especially those who suffer from performance anxiety. However, there is not a definitive solution to alleviating stress. Each individual possesses a different coping mechanism.

“Right before I jump or run, I take a few minutes to pray for God to give me strength to do my best from then up until I go,” relay runner Alecia Jackson said. “I just repeatedly, in my head, tell myself that ‘I got this and it doesn’t matter what place I get as long as I know I tried, then that’s what matters.’”

Others just bite the bullet and hope for the best.

I don’t have a great way to deal with anxiety,” jumper Logan Rice said. “I’ve found the only way for me to deal with it is to just do the event, because if I sit around thinking, I’ll talk myself out of anything. I just have to push the fear away and go.”

Despite requiring comparative strength and tenacity to other sports, track does not gain the same societal momentum as football and baseball. These national past times are rituals of American culture and always bring the high school together after hours. However, the aforementioned description cannot fit into sport of track. Since events usually bleed into class time during home meets, the only exception is where students gleefully attend with the sole purpose to evade schoolwork.

 “Track and field never gets enough representation (especially the throwing team),” Nichols said. “So, this is good for a change.”

With any extracurricular activity, a good academic/athletic balance is key. Like with anxiety, different people approach the dilemma differently. In one camp, the drive for greatness in sports carries over into the classroom and does not affect studies. In the other, some more or less struggle but continue to persevere.

On the subject of field events negatively influencing class work, Nichols said, “No [it does not]. If you want it done you’ll get it done.”

Nichols is not the only student athlete who feels this way.

“If anything, it makes me work harder academically,” Davis said. “The workload will pay off in the future.”

Some other athletes see this as a positive challenge and take this as an opportunity to grow.

“I have issues being able to handle many things,” Rice said. “I usually choose what brings me more pleasure in life and that is almost always athletics, so I’m still trying to learn how to balance my grades and sports.”

Whatever trials and hardships the team faces, the mutual benefits of camaraderie reign above all.

“I have become more confident,” Jackson said. “When I’ve felt that I couldn’t do something, my team and my coaches have just pushed and encouraged me to do my best”.

Being part of team not only yields benefits on the field, but also in one’s daily life.

“Teams have changed my life mainly by giving techniques to deal with people I don’t like and how to be mature enough to walk away from something,” Rice said. “Even if I feel that I’m right.”

Whether joining a sport, club, or none at all, everyone can benefit from extracurriculars. The limitless doors that open can provide life experiences that will last a lifetime.

“Try something new,” Jackson said. “Get into a sport, or if you’re not athletic then do theater, choir, band, or even art. But I wholly feel like everyone should do an extracurricular activity. Maybe you’ll like it, or maybe you won’t, but you can find people you relate to and those people could become you best friends. If they aren’t, then least you have someone to be there for you when you really need it.”