There is this unwritten rule kept within the hidden plans of Providence that WCA Cross Country Meets, the first ones at least, are to be grey, windy, wet and mercilessly cold, always cold. Ah, but do our little runners complain? Perhaps a little, but that is mostly the occupation of us parents. Our runners run with real grit. And by the time they’ve crossed the finish line with big smiles or tears or both, those shivering parents, still cold, have been warmed somewhere in that deep place within reserved only for the pride a parent can have in his child.
That is the first glory of cross country: That a Kindergartner, 2nd or 7th grader will run to the best of his ability, even when it’s hard. There is beauty in perseverance.
There is also beauty in victory, where perseverance and talent meet. When one of our littlest runners, Jane, earned a nickname in passing – “Fast Duffey” – she beamed, as she should. That is the second glory of cross country: That that special combination of speed and determination result in a 1st or 2nd or 3rd place finish, and that we smile for the blessing to run fast.
Yet there is a third, not-so-common and not-so-celebrated glory of cross country, seen first in Heaven and last by us below. It’s that younger runner, fast or slow, who seeks out her teammate following the race to look her in the eye, hold her hand, and say “good job” - and mean it. It’s that older runner who finds a little Kindergartner, and with genuine look congratulates him for finishing his first-ever race. What does this runner gain? No ribbon, no cheer, but a glory that glitters brighter and longer than the finest 1st place gold.
It is a grand thing to attend a WCA Cross Country Meet. You’re invited, go: You’ll likely witness all three of these glories in our Lion runners. It may be grey, windy, wet and cold without, but you’ll leave warm within.