Maddie Meiner is a senior at Marcus High School in Lewsville, Texas. A multis athlete signed with Oklahoma State University, she's competed in everything from the 100 meter hurdles to the long jump and shot put and will continue her future in Stillwater as a Cowboy. In this Dear Running essay, Maddie relays her thoughts on a season that continues to be on hold in Texas.
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"When I think I can't run another step, my teammates are there to show me that I can."
By Maddie Meiner - Lewisville Marcus High School
As I sit here writing this, I find myself clinging on to the hope that you haven't been taken from me completely this season, that somehow a regional or state meet might still be held.
I know I'm lucky. I know my career isn't over after this, that I have four more years at Oklahoma State. But many of my friends may never have another meet. And that doesn't take away from what I feel right now.
I will still cry, and mourn the loss of what could have been this season.
When I look back over my life, I realize I would not be the person I am today without you. You have tested me mentally and physically and you have made me hate and love you.
But while this sport hasn't been easy, it's always been worth it.
You grabbed me at a young age, six to be exact, and then we drifted apart. I went on to do other things like volleyball, basketball and soccer, but then soon enough I came back to you.
That decision caused much confusion from the people in my life, who wondered why I would give up being on a "true team."
But when posed with these questions, I found them easy to answer.
Yes, you are a hard sport. Yes, I have had to take the time, make a major commitment and a show a determination of which I had to find deep inside myself.
But at the end of the day, you are the ultimate reward. You are always there on a bad day to cheer me up. You have shown me the strength I did not know I had inside myself.
And you're more of a team sport then I've ever known.
I've learned to be patient, to enjoy the process and to appreciate growth in this life. I've realized that success isn't guaranteed, that missing a PR is not a disappointment, and to instead look at what I did good that week.
Most importantly, running has taught me how to love myself.
I don't understand how people can look at you and my team and not think of us as together. We practice every day, rain or shine, and pull each other up after every last rep.
And when I think I can't run another step, my teammates are there to show me that I can.
So I want to thank you, running, for giving me a team that is filled with some of the best people I have ever known. I want to thank you for having people in my corner who are there for me in good times and bad.
We're all witness to our dedication.
All of these reasons were why I was so excited for my senior season this year. I was so ready to come back to you after break. Excitement was building for the trips to the Texas Relays and New Balance Nationals Outdoor; for being able to host my last district meet at my school and to share it with all my fellow seniors.
Being a multis-athlete makes training a little harder because I have to find time to fit in all the different events, but I was ready to get back to you and I was ready for the challenge.
But when the news dropped that the NCAA was canceling all winter and spring championships, including the Indoor National Championship, I knew that it was only a matter of time before high schools did the same.
It really hit me hard when they officially announced it because I think that there was a part of me that still had hope that they wouldn't.
To me, it felt like I was going to have to give up on you.
But all hope isn't lost just yet. The UIL has only postponed its events through May 4. And it's in times like these when I remember why I do this, why I train every day. I remember why I love this sport.
I can't lie. You are one of the most important things in my life.
Maddie, Marcus '20
CONTRIBUTE TO THIS SERIES
For whatever your passion, be it running, jumping, throwing, hurdling, et cet., if you are a track and field and/or cross country athlete or coach interested in contributing to this series, please send your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org.