- Melissa Westemeier
one incredible chapter
Four years ago Mr. T started high school cross country. I remember how those upperclassmen on his team took him under their wing--guys like Ben, Matt, Kevin, Sam, Travis, Adam, Jake, Seth and Ramsey made him feel welcome and part of the group. T ran race times in the 22 minute range and improved gradually. Now he's the old guard and heading into his last races of his high school career. He wants to break into the 17's at Sectionals in Waupaca this Saturday. Yesterday his team swept their conference meet and he made 2nd team all-conference while getting a PR.
In four years I've had to move faster and faster across the courses to watch him run past and cheer for him.
In four years I've bought him five pairs of trainers and three pairs of spikes. (A shout-out to Runaway Shoes for awesome support!) In four years we've acquired lots of FHS cross country T-shirts and sweatshirts.
In four years I've sweated, dripped, shivered, yelled and smiled on the sidelines.
In four years I've learned the jargon of this sport, terms like "running strategy" and "kick" and "PR" are now part of our family's lexicon.
In four years I've contributed to team meals, lugged the chocolate milk cooler to meets, navigated course maps and listened to coach speeches. In four years I've seen Mr. T battle injury and discouragement. In four years I've seen him break through barriers and become a legit varsity runner. In four years I've seen him get so excited and motivated and learn to lead. In four years I've watched his self-discipline and confidence bloom. This year Mr. B joined the team and it has brought me so much joy to watch these two brothers share the sport. They've bonded as teammates, trained and encouraged each other and grown closer. My heart has been GLAD to listen to them talk about practices when they get home in the evening and watch them head out together to socialize with their "running group." It's so cool to see them connecting this way outside of our family unit.
It's been a hell of a run and I'm thankful for all the opportunities and memories cross country has given our entire family. I had no idea a sport could give anything to a parent, until this experience I only thought high school sports benefited the athletes. Watching Mr. T finish his career is giving me all the feels this week, but mostly the satisfaction of watching my son develop and reach his potential.
Finish strong, Mr. T. You should be proud of yourself, I'm quite proud of you.