I Believe in Wind Sprints

My Edge

By: Tal Woods

I believe in wind sprints. I did things on my own when I first entered high school and being self reliant was a part of me. Never relying on someone else was easy and comfortable and never comparing myself to another player allowed me to be happy with mediocrity. At least before I began to compete.

The wind sprints were our daily punishments allotted at the end of every practice based on how hard we had worked. I never saw them as punishments. They were my opportunity to test myself. There was no limit to how many times we had to cover those same 106 yards of shredded turf that was constantly churned by cleats at the end of practice. My teammates dreaded this part of the day, I relished it. The sprints were my way of competing with the team, always trying to make myself just a little bit faster.

The shrill tweet of the coach's whistle pierced the haze of colliding football pads and we all jogged to the sideline. We positioned ourselves along the sidelines crouching down like an Olympic sprinter waiting for the starting pistol. "Foots on the line", the dreaded phrase uttered at the end of every football practice by our defensive coordinator. The second whistle blown signaled the beginning and we all took off. Barreling down the field attempting to cover the 106 yards that separated start from finish I found a place to face-off against my teammates. I was weighed down by the sheer bulk of padding that protected my fragile bones from shattering during the characteristic-skull jarring force of impact of football. The only sound I can make out over the blood pulsing in my ears and the panting of linemen was the coach demanding us to push our bodies to the limit. I reached the opposite side line and pirouetted, attempting to change direction in as little time as possible to make it back before as many of my teammates as I could.

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As the season progressed I had started to question my commitment to the sport and the pads resting on my shoulders were no longer a comfort, but a hindrance. I wanted to give up and coast by, never having to spend myself in an effort to overtake my teammates. But everyday at practice when it finally came to an end I could not let myself be beaten. I enjoyed the competition of the sprints and they drove me to my full potential.

These sprints gave me a competitive edge. I was used to relying on myself when I entered high school. Never having to worry about anyone but number 1 made life easier but it also deprived me of the drive needed to push myself harder and farther than I ever had. Competition gave me a reason to push myself and now I look for that competition in everything I do. That is why I believe in wind sprints.

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