Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Big Fish in a Big Pond

There are some talented people in this world - crazy talented people*! Competing with them almost guarantees failure. Why even bother?

I had an amazing cross-country and track coach in high school. One of his favorite sayings was, "If we want to be the best, we have to run with the best." And he meant it. When he saw an opening in a meet that had the best teams in the state, he would work like crazy to get us into it.

My senior year, he gave us a tough competitive schedule . . . a really tough schedule. We did not win many races as a team, and though I was the team's lead runner, I did not win many races individually.

However, we achieved the two most difficult team goals that we set: we won the conference meet and qualified for the state meet.

And I had two brilliant seasons. In cross country, I earned first team all state honors and ran the 3rd fastest time in my high school's history. In track, I set the school record in the 1600m run which is still the record nearly 8 years later.

We were a talented group, but not exceptionally talented. And I was a talented individual, but not amazingly talented. However, we achieved great things. It was thanks to Coach.

Coach taught us that we shouldn't shy away from competition. We could win all of the tiny races that we wanted to, and he knew that. But he also knew that if we chased the best, we just might catch them.

If there's even a remote chance that you can catch up, competing with best can be an amazing and life changing experience.

Thanks Coach. The Oregon boys will miss you.

*I'm certain of this fact - 1200 of them go to Chicago Booth!