The Eagle's Call

Cross country focuses on community, not competition

Photo courtesy of Ms. Pelinka

Photo courtesy of Ms. Pelinka

Ali Dugan, Staff Writer

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The sixth-grade girls are lining up, and all their teammates are helping them get ready and excited for the race. The starter walks forward and all goes silent. All you can hear is the leaves rustling in the wind. The runners’ teammates back up to give the runners their space. The starter brings up his flag, and the the runners get into their positions. He brings up the gun and fires the starter shot. The runners sprint off and all the spectators start cheering loudly for all of the teams.

Earlier that day, just before the girls set out on their warm-up run, Coach Pelinka addressed her athletes. “I love cross country because it isn’t about being the best or fastest,” Coach Pelinka declared. “There’s no real winner or loser. Cross country is about getting better each time you’re out on a run and beating your own personal record.” On the warm-up run that followed, the runners passed many other teams chatting excitedly and greeting friends from their own school, as well as many others.

During the race, as the teams run and finish, it is clear that there is something special that most other sports don’t have. The parents not only cheered their kids on, but everyone else as well. So did the other teams. Also, when a runner was hurt or was having trouble finishing, their teammates would run to the end with them. And while the race was happening, runners from different teams ran together in community, cheering each other on.

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Cross country focuses on community, not competition