Not everyone loves participating in a cross-country event but; all of the kids had been practising for the Phoenix zone event - since at least the start of this term. For this event, ‘practising’ can be regarded as being different to ‘training’. While training involves targeting and lifting fitness performance levels - practising does not.
Some kids have trained quite earnestly with an expectation that they’re going to be there at the business end of their event; some of those expectations are realistic; others are not.
Some are out there, having a go and even having fun. Minor races develop between individuals; quick bursts of speed that occur - usually when going past a teacher or track marshall - followed by a bit of recovery walking and a quick yarn. And then that cycle starts again. (Many years ago, a couple of lads who were mates from different parts of the province and could really run; met up again on the start-line at the Southland Champs. Oblivious to everything else around them, when the race started - so did their conversation...and they kept it up - all the way to the finish line. And beyond - despite not sprinting for a strong finish or even noticing the finish: they still came in 10th and 11th in a field of 60+).
And there are other kids out there practising - going through the motions mainly because they have to. We know that some of them are not ‘having fun’ at all: they’d rather be back inside doing something less personally confronting.
In many ways, these are the kids who can benefit most from these experiences. These are often the individuals who don’t struggle with literacy; maths makes sense to then straight off the bat. Unlike the ‘in-class strugglers’ they don’t have to really apply themselves to make progress and gain success.
Because the cross-country stuff is challenging for them; it is often one of their first opportunities to develop persistence. And persistence is one of the major elements in succeeding in life. Thomas Edison succeeded in inventing the lightbulb - just one of many successes. Tellingly though, his lifetime ratio for inventions was one success for every four hundred failures.
Persistence is what success looks like. You don’t have to win; you just have to finish what you start.