I’ve been reading A Tale of Two Cities recently, and have come upon a passage that I find quite interesting: A man stands in front of the court, eyeing the judge and the witnesses who gathered around him. The scene is in during nineteenth century France, where the man has been accused of treason. Although this man knows for a fact that he is innocent, the assembly, although refraining to have explicitly stated it, have gathered today to frame him of treason and quarter him. His punishment awaiting him involves being hanged, having his insides torn out and burned, before having his head cut off and put on public display. Although this horrendous death awaits him with near certainty, he must remain composed and give a good testimony in order to have any chance of living…….
The circumstances that my team and I faced at CIF finals a week ago (the qualifier for the State Championships) obviously weren’t as hopeless as the man’s in A Tale of Two Cities, but the pressure we felt might have been nearly as great. We were on the path to become the first team in all of my school’s history to run at the state cross country championships! Needless to say, we were all excited as well. With solid workouts by everyone going into the race, we were confident that we would perform up to standard and make it to state. Even our coach said, “We don’t need to run something extraordinary or miraculous. Just run what you’re capable, and we’ll go to state.” Even as we drove up to the course, the weather was perfect. And at the end of the day, we ran an amazing team time of 77:48, a school record for that course. Despite the amazing performance, we finished an agonizing eighth place (one place and four points away from making state), the fasted time to not qualify for state ever. One of our runners did qualify (the first in school history and he went on to finish 13th in state), and while we were overjoyed for his amazing accomplishment, we were a little put off by the fact that we missed what we trained so hard for by such a slim margin.
Did the man in A Tale of Two Cities flinch at all when faced with a horrible death? At one point, it seemed like he’d lost the trial and that his case was done for. However, as the case was drawing to a close, the defense attorney began presenting a slew of evidence disproving that the man was guilty of anything, and the man walked away alive. Although my team didn’t succeed in our goal this year, I suppose we’ll have to use the only option available: put our focus on the future and continue grinding forward. Track season’s just around the corner! And next year, when we toe that same starting line at CIF finals, I’m confident we’ll make it.