I’m a pretty mature, aware kid, so I usually connect with adults better than with teenagers. This weekend, however, I was pretty disappointed with how seberal adults failed to do their job and more importantly, do the right thing. In general, I know high school sports are small world endeabors but for those few top athletes in Maine who are serious about what they are doing, competing in a state championship is kind of important. When I toed the line and the gun went off at the Maine State Cross Country meet this Saturday, I knew it was my race and I was going to win. As quickly as the race started and I ran to the front, I was swallowed up, tripped and fell 3 times, and ultimately had my right shoe ripped off. It wasn’t only me either-people were dropping left and right, front and back. The Maine Principals Association rules clearly state that if anyone falls in the first 100m, the race is restarted. One person should be enough, but more than 10 is ridiculous. As I quickly realized this was not a fair race, that the runners were not going to get called back, I had to make the best out of the situation. With only thoughts of advancing to New Englands, I got up to run 3 miles with one shoe, at that point now in about 100th place. In an instant, what had been my race was taken from me. As I got up to the lead around the mile, I knew this was only a survival race, winning was beyond realistic. This was a whole different race than the one I had imagined-one where every step was strategic in keeping me from injury and enabling me to keep running in a respectable position. One where my toes had to grip rocks and sand in order to propel myelf forward, where I used a snowshoe motion to get up hills because I had no front foot traction and where I had to windmill my arms on corners so I did not wipe out sideways. After the fact, I said it felt like the officials pretty much started a race, held me back, beat me up a little, tore off my shoe, and then let me start.
Life stinks. I know. Disappointments are bound to happen; most things in life aren’t fair. Blah, blah, blah. This meant something to me and I am dismayed by the attitude of the race officials from this weekend. Their only job is to create a fair, equal, safe race environment where each athlete can compete to the best of their ability and they absolutely failed. I think what hurt me the most was the lack of sympathy or respect post race. The officials were unphased by my tragic story; everyone’s response was pretty much “tough luck”. As pictures were posted online, where in each frame there is a girl on the ground, my mind is blown that people can just move on. It makes me sick that the athletes and their teams and families know what the course was like, but that they could be happy with beating me and others that fell, despite the fact that they were given an unfair advantage over us and were able run a completely different race than us( for me because they ran it with 2 shoes on!) Everyone has a conscience and although what’s done is done and I’ll always have to live with that race, I really hope people are able to look deeper into themselves and feel a slight twinge of discomfort.