Dear Track & Field by GRC Senior Makenzie Cooper

By: Makenzie Cooper (GRC Class of 2020)

Dear Highschool Track and Field,

Wow. Where do I begin?
Since age 9 you've been my best friend.
Maybe I took advantage of the time I've had with you.
Most people get 4 years, I got 8. Time really flew.
You weren't easy on me, that's for sure.
But you pushed me to my breaking point, forced me to endure.
From the first time I stepped up to the waterfall, surrounded by my competition towering over me, you lit a fire, one I don't think will ever leave.
I won't lie, you broke me. Broke me down so many times.
My body, mind, and even spirit. But even through all of the PT, anxiety, tears, screams, and sleepless nights, I knew you were the only one truly by my side.
Our whole relationship has felt like one big race.

On your mark...
I stepped up to this line called life, unprepared for the true pace.
Always glance around at my competition one last time before it's time to focus in.
But I soon came to realize my only competition was within.

Time stands still.
Everything is silent while I clear my mind. How much do I really want it?
In the end, it all comes down to will.
Every long run, plyometric drill, stride, and speed workout prepared me for this moment. But regardless of preparation, it all comes down to heart. Will I be content?

Ironic, isn't it? We all invest our lives for this one moment, just a few seconds or minutes. But we all can't wait to reach the finish line. To "get it over with" as I've heard so many people say. Would you have still felt that way if you knew it would all be stripped away? The entire race is preparation within itself. Preparation for that last lap, the "final stretch", all to reach the finish line. But how do I prepare for the finish line that won't come? Everything I sacrificed... my body, friends, and time. Now here we are. My senior year. What was supposed to be my 9th and final year with you? The year full of memories with my best friends, long music-filled bus rides, and my final shot at taking home a state title. I won't get that final race that I would be able to break down piece by piece, looking back at it in 30 years. Our finish line. But I guess this is what you truly prepared me for, isn't it? The unexpected. Being truly grateful for the time I did have. Looking forward to the next race, and learning from the previous. I'll find a new finish line, but I'll never forget where I started.

Love, the little girl with big dreams.

**Makenzie Cooper is a senior at George Rogers Clark in Winchester, KY.  She placed 3rd at the Class AAA State Championship in the 300m hurdles (video below) and long jump.**