Kurtis joined the cross country running team at his school about a month ago. There are no try-outs or cuts - everyone who wants to run can. I had encouraged him to join - thinking it was the track and field team. With Kurtis's height, I'm thinking he may be good at the jumps. When it turned out to be the cross country team, I told him he didn't have to stick with it if he didn't enjoy it as it wasn't what we thought he had signed up for. But I thought he might like it as he does like to run - playing tag is one of his favourite things to do!
And right from the beginning he surprised me. The very first day of running was hard for him....but he kept going (either walking or running) and forced himself to run more because as he told me.."our coach said that if we run more now, it'll be easier to run next time. So I forced myself to run, Mom, even when I got a cramp in my side".
On the first race, they took off after the "rabbit".... and I mean they flew. They were running so fast I knew Kurtis (and many others) would hit the wall. Well, he didn't hit the wall badly, but he did slow down significantly and ended up middle of the pack. But, I was so proud of him for even doing this activity and for finishing the race without walking. Considering how fast he had started out, I expected him to be walking to the end. Again, his determination amazed me... "Mom, I wasn't going to walk, no matter how tired I was and I was very tired".
The last race was this past Thursday. And it was hot outside. I felt sorry for all those kids having to run in that heat. I was eagerly watching Kurtis start the race in the middle of sooooo many grade 3 boys! I went quickly to the finish line and waited for Kurtis. They started coming in. The superfast boy won again - he has won all 3 races and was running as fast as when he started out. Some more boys... then the boys from Kurtis's school came in. Hmmm.. Kurtis should be done by now.... he's usually in the middle of the pack, so where is he? Finally I see him approach the line. But something is wrong. He is very upset. After he crosses the finish line and I can talk to him, he is very upset and between tears and huge breaths, he tells me he fell - twice! He shows me his bleeding and scratched up knee, hand and arm. Finally after he calms down he says "but at least I didn't finish last Mom!". Yup - you're right there! And thanks for the laugh kid! In fact, he still actually did quite good. And I think the wounds (emotional and physical) have healed.
As I said before, I was so proud of Kurtis for joining the cross country team. I think a big part of it is because it's something I never did - or rather never could do! When I watch all these little children run and run, I really am in awe!