I'm sure it's no secret to those reading this that this weekend is the Kentucky State Track Meet (but seriously, if you didn't know that, click that back button and check out all the great coverage that's been posted!). For some of you, it may be a chance to capture a State Championship. Your dreams from January are finally coming to fruition and you are nervously anticipating the moment the gun goes off! For many others, this is a chance to prove to everyone that you have what it takes to reach the podium and earn a medal. There are others, still, who are going to the state meet who are looking forward to the experience of stepping on UK's track and saying “I was at the state meet" more so than striving for any medal or award. Despite the difference of which class you are in, how you get to the state meet, why you're there, or what goal you have, I want to take a few minutes to express what I think connects all those who will make their way to Lexington over the next few days.
Take it from me, a recent college graduate who just moved into a “big boy" apartment by himself and got his first “big boy" job in the real world, I still remember every State Meet I ever competed in. I'll even go so far as to say that I remember the specific moment of being handed the baton in the 2010 AA 4x800m relay. I also remember the moment I crossed the finish line in the 2011 AA 3200m run, which was the last race of my career. Those moments are almost 4 years removed from my last high school competition and I still remember specific conversations, details and moments from those days. Athletes, I'm specifically talking to you when I say this: cherish the time you have lacing up your spikes and step onto the track. I know you will be hearing this a lot over the next 4 years, if you're a freshman, or over the next 4 weeks, if you're a graduating senior, but this time in of your life will not last forever. It is an inevitable truth that time pushed onward and stops for no one.
So I come before you today to make this point and offer to you a humble request: While you are competing this weekend, make memories that you will cherish. Athletes, this weekend you have center stage. Hundreds of people will work countless hours to prepare a place for you to literally go and create for yourself memories that you will never forget. While working hard to achieve your dreams is a noble and great thing to strive for, never forget that there is a time for our dreams to come to an end, but our memories will continue to live on. Sure, I may run occasionally and still compete in a 5K here and there, but I will never again be able to hop back into my 17 year old body and compete in a high school track meet. There are many of us who would give quite a bit to be back in your position just one more time. But this weekend is your turn. It is your chance to spend your last day at the track this year with some of your closest friends. Your teammates, who have sweated, bled, and puked right beside you since day one. Also your coaches, who have invested their time and energy into your improvement day-in and day-out. So while you are at State this weekend I urge you to give it your best. This is what you have worked for and it is for weekends like these that you have grinded out each and every tough workout. But take time to stop and appreciate what a gift you have been given and this time have, because one day your memories will be all that is left of this chapter in your life. I'll close by quoting the great poet Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast, and if you don't stop to look around every once in a while, you could miss it."