There we were, about to run Districts, the opening round of qualifying for the State Championships...and two of our top runners were out sick. There are two ways we could have looked at this situation. We could have moaned and groaned and cried " Why now?"... or we could've looked at the situation as an opportunity. We promoted two promising Junior Varsity girls to Varsity and let the team know that the race was an excellent opportunity to grow as a team and to gain experience in championship racing. The message was positive and the excitement was real. What better time to learn to deal with bumps in the road than here and now?
There is almost never a perfect season or race. We deal with hiccups and bumps throughout everyday life. How we deal with them says a lot about our character. As the great John Wooden once said, "Sports do not build character. They reveal it." We can try to avoid the tough or monotonous parts of running (hills, track work, stretching, etc.), but doing so only leaves us improperly prepared for race day. We will have missed out on many opportunities for improvement.
It is easy to find adversity in a situation. It is far tougher to look at that same situation and think of it as an opportunity to grow and develop into a better runner and person. Make it your goal to turn your negatives into positives and you will find your running and racing will improve and become much more fulfilling. Train yourself to search for the positive rather than settle for the disappointment of the negative. Train yourself to turn adversity into opportunity.
As our team toed the line without our top two runners, there was a confidence about them. They knew they were prepared; they knew we believed in them; and most importantly they knew this was an excellent opportunity to help them become the athletes they were training to be.