My name is Stephen Battle and I am a middle distance runner for the Neumann’s Track and Field Team. Track and Field is an interesting sport. We don’t score goals, and the only stats we have consist of the times we run on the track and the distances or heights we cover on the field. We don’t compete head-to-head against a single opposing team. Instead, we find ourselves amidst 30 opposing teams consisting of trained athletes. Many times, we even compete against one another. As you could imagine, competition gets hot. Each event in Track & Field is unique in its composition, from the 200m Dash to the 3000m Steeplechase, to the High Jump and the Long Jump. Each one is physically and mentally demanding in its own way. We work vigorously to meet those demands, whether that means working on quicker muscle contraction, a heightened lactic threshold, a boosted aerobic system, a hardened mind, or sharpened precision.
For this reason, excellence to us the realization that perfection does not exist. The in-existence of perfection is not a limitation, however… It’s a freedom. We know that no matter how much we improve, there will still be something we can work on; something we can reach for. It gives us a reason to continue climbing without a ceiling to cap us. We each know the pain that comes with our unique events and the with the preparation for them. But our passion burns hotter than any amount of pain. So we’ll run those lactate inducing 400m repeats for Coach Nicole. We’ll fight through the entire ladder workout for Coach Chris. Even after all this training, in competition even the slightest hesitation can cost us the results we hoped for. Or sometimes we execute our race strategy incorrectly. Regardless of what goes right or wrong, we wake up the next day looking forward to the next meet. Imperfect, and therefore endless, potential lies within all of us. A setback is just another reason to work to bring that potential to the forefront. And a victory is just proof that such potential exists. Excellence does not lie only in how often we win over others, but more-so how we prepare to win against the negative voices in our heads.