I came upon throwing by accident. When I joined the track and field team in my sophomore year, I was just looking for another sport to participate in after volleyball ended. I remembered liking track in middle school, and so I chose the discus team, not realizing that I would also have to throw shot put (which I had never tried before).
My first weeks were clumsy and tiring and awkward, but I’ll never forget the moment when my discus first released evenly: it sailed perfectly straight, like it could go on forever. Amid whistles and congratulations from my teammates, I found a sense of satisfaction, like I’d finally found something I was truly good at.
I didn’t realize this before I joined, but track is really unique in its huge diversity of athletes: not only do girls and boys both compete together, but the sport includes all body types and skills. There literally is a place for everybody. It was extraordinary for me to see how similar but varied a community can be.
There is also a really good combo of team sport and individual work. When I’m throwing, it’s all about my personal work, fine-tuning my technique, and trying to get farther than the last time I threw. But there’s also a really strong team atmosphere within each event and with the runners as well.
Lastly, I didn’t expect for the track team to become so close. That variety I mentioned in the athletes also includes personality types and ages. We get some real characters on the track team. But, despite our many differences, we always become a family somewhere over the long hours and cold afternoons. Every season, I make new bonds across track events, across friend groups, and even across grades.