Dear Jumps: You Either Have It, Or You Don't

Photo Credit: Aaron Martinez/USA Today 

Xavier Drumgoole is a high school senior from Round Rock, Texas. The Stanford University signee is the defending Texas UIL Class 6A champion in the triple jump and was the runner-up in the discipline at Nike Outdoor Nationals with a career mark of 50 feet, 6.75 inches. Xavier also owns a long jump PR of 23-10 and was a fourth-place finisher in the event last year at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. He attends Round Rock High School.

Dear Jumps,

Thank you for teaching me the beauty in simplicity.

Speaking personally on my 18 years of wisdom and experience, I've learned that life is made up of hard choices. The world seems to be filled with an overwhelming amount of gray areas, infinitely complex situations and problems that require even more complex solutions. Through track and field, I have learned that sometimes it's OK to see just the black and white. It is OK to not know everything because you can pick your answer first and find out what you have to know along the way.

At school, rarely am I ever one 100-percent sure something will happen. Except, I know that a week of track practice is never complete until my coach Stanley Gabel has reminded us of his theory for the sport. He gleams with pride every time he asserts "The Pregnant Theory" to us.

I remember the first time he asked me if I'd heard of it, "The Pregnant Theory," during my freshman year. I was puzzled. But as time has gone by, it has grown on me to the point where I've internalized the saying; it's honestly become nothing short of a doctrine. It's a simple conceit really. You either are, or you ain't.

Maybe there is room for excuses -- such as an injury -- or distractions elsewhere, but on Coach Gabel's track, he sees it plainly. You either have it, or you don't.

Leading generations of young men and women into the proverbial battlefield on the track and field, those are the words he chooses in order to light a fire in our bellies. Speaking just for myself, it has worked. I've lost track of how many times that line of logic has dragged me through difficult situations.

I face the sand and stand alone with my body, my habits, my goals and my mind with only one objective in front of me: Jump far.

    Feeling lost, unmotivated or taken down, I know I can find strength from the dumb faith and strength-of-will that I have learned in my years of competition. 

    It wouldn't be fair to say that track and field is the easiest or simplest sport. As an entry-level sport it may seem safe and uncomplicated, but as you dive in, complex and mechanically dense movements take years to master.

    However, something can be said about the straightforwardness of track and field. That's why I see track as something like a brutally honest friend. Though it's been good to me, it will be honest with me. Track will never shy away from showing me exactly what it really thinks of my efforts.

    If I don't work hard, if I miss practice, if I'm not locked in, if I'd rather sleep in, it shows. On the best of days on the runway, there's not really anything left to do.

    I face the sand and stand alone with my body, my habits, my goals and my mind with only one objective in front of me: Jump far.

    * Drumgoole at the UIL Class 6A State Championships in 2023

    Photo Credit: Aaron Martinez/USA Today

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    To me, there's beauty in that. It's not basketball, football or baseball. I don't have to prepare for every X-factor or unknown possibility with my teammates. It's just me. I've known exactly what I have been getting into since the day I started training. It's because of that careful preparation that I can lay everything I have down the runway and let loose. 

    Ultimately, I've gotten pretty close to this sport. At this point of my life, I'm glad I have. Out of all the infinitely complex problems, I'd really like to thank track for not being one of them for me. 

    Since middle school, it was clear to a few people that I had the skills to excel here and so my parents and my coaches and my friends supported me by letting me know that. They gave me the keys.

    And yet, I also know now that I cannot wake up everyday and expect greatness. I have to put in all of myself and really show up in order to know if I am or if I ain't

    Thank you track and field for not being one of those hard choices. 

    Xavier Drumgoole

    Meridian World High School 

    Class of 2024


    USA Today



    If you are a track and field athlete or coach interested in contributing to this series at the state or national level, please send your essay to MileSplit USA editor Cory Mull at, or to your local MileSplit editor in your respective state.