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Team Politics MAG
TEAM POLITICS by Erin D., Waterloo, NY It was the end of summer running and the beginning of competitive season. I was just a freshman and very nervous. I ran with the girls all summer. They picked on me a couple of times, but I thought I had made some new friends.
Then my thoughts about these new friends completely changed. It was only a stupid intersquad race, just to see who placed where on the team. We had agreed we were going to link arms and cross the finish line at the same time. Well, that plan was squashed as soon as we heard the bang of the gun.
Cindy and I ran together the whole race and, at the end, I out-sprinted her. As soon as she crossed the finish line, I ran over to her, held out my hand and said, "Nice race, Cindy!" She just turned and walked away. I didn't know what to do. She was so mad that she wouldn't even talk.
As the others crossed the finish line, I tried to catch their attention. I yelled, "Nice race, ladies!" They wouldn't talk to me, either. I was so confused. I didn't know how to react. Should I act like nothing had happened? Or should I not say a word? Did I do something wrong by trying my best?
I decided to try and patch things up with Cindy. I followed her into the girls' locker room and yelled her name. She finally turned around and said, "Don't even talk to me! Leave me alone!" To add to the embarrassment, she said that in front of the varsity soccer team. I wanted to cry.
We went into the hall where my coach gave out our prizes. I sat alone against the cold wall. My coach said, "And Erin Dinan is the over-all winner of the girls' varsity race!" I walked over and shook his hand. I could hear everyone clapping - only because it was the appropriate thing to do.
I went home miserable that day. I felt that I had lost all my new friends. I felt like I meant nothing to them and they didn't care how I felt.
As the season progressed and our practices grew longer and harder, I think our team finally came together. I can remember one day when Cindy and I were running together. She said, "Erin, I have to tell you how I feel about you beating me in the intersquad race." I stopped dead in my tracks and was shocked she brought up that subject. I had thought that what happened that day was forgotten like a bad memory. She said, "I did some thinking and, although it was hard for me to accept anyone beating me, let alone a freshman, I am proud of you." I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. Before words rolled off my tongue, she started again, "The worst part was that I had been the lead runner for three years and now I'm not." I felt horrible, like I had taken everything away from her. Then she said, "I don't want you to stop trying and doing your best, just because you don't want to hurt my feelings. You have great talent and you should be proud of yourself. Don't hold back."
"Cindy, I am so sorry that I beat you. I just did what Mr. D told me to do: ARun your own race.'"
"Erin, there is no reason for you to apologize. You did what you had to do." I was so happy I wanted to cry. Our friendship was back.
From that day on, things just got better. I actually felt like I was "part of the team." We had sleepovers and parties at everyone's houses, even mine. We all bonded - everyone on the team became the closest friends I ever had!