Greater than 40 years in the past, one in all my first reporting assignments was to cowl Metropolis Part cross-country at Pierce School. It was, and nonetheless is, the quintessential highschool sports activities expertise, youngsters competing with their associates whereas in search of to problem themselves in a three-mile check of endurance to succeed in that end line and really feel a way of accomplishment.
My annual go to final weekend to the Metropolis Part preliminaries on a cool, cloudless morning supplied one other reminder that the times of highschool sports activities earlier than Twitter, transfers, personal coaches, and fogeys turning into infatuated with successful, nonetheless exists. It’s like time has been frozen, with athletes and coaches targeted on studying life classes.
Joseluis Rincon, a 17-year-old senior at North Hills Monroe Excessive, was dressed as if visiting Alaska, sporting a heavy jacket, gloves and two hoodies.
He didn’t get to compete for Monroe as a result of he was designated as an alternate however was there to assist cheer on his teammates.
It seems three years in the past, in the summertime earlier than his freshman yr, he confirmed up for a exercise at Monroe along with his associates. He had by no means run earlier than. Coach Leo Hernandez welcomed him with open arms.
“I remember I threw up that day,” Rincon mentioned.
And he got here again for extra. Time and again.
“I wasn’t disciplined and motivated as a student until I reached high school and met coach Hernandez,” Rincon mentioned. “I learned what a healthy community could do for me running. I didn’t want to turn to a bad outlet like doing drugs. That’s how I dealt with my depression.”
Rincon was misplaced earlier than highschool, nonetheless upset that his mother and father had separated when he was 6. He lived in a one-bedroom condo along with his mother in Panorama Metropolis.
“Overcoming the separation of my parents was my most significant challenge,” he wrote in an essay. “I was depressed and struggled to focus at school. I could not take it one day at a time with my education and my family. The biggest problem was worrying about tending to my responsibilities at home while getting good grades.
“Mentally, I could not balance my life at home with my life at school. I felt as if I was getting pulled down by a wrecking ball, which was the pressure of responsibility I had as a kid. Because my mom had to work two jobs, my responsibility at home was twice as much. I had issues focusing on myself. I could not find any interest in anything, which left me with little to no motivation at school. Having no outlet is why the problems took a heavier toll on me.
“Running was my therapy.”
Three years later, Rincon has a 4.0 grade common, runs six miles a day and desires of attending UCLA and turning into a physician.
Hernandez, in his twenty seventh yr teaching cross-country, defined, “I like to see outcomes like that. You try to get the best of the kids and help them achieve goals they never thought they could achieve running. And that opens their mind to be able to do better in life. It’s about improving themselves as a person, setting goal after goal after goal to be successful.”
Running has taught Rincon that “everything didn’t seem as hard.”
He wrote, “I found something to look forward to every day. The balance in my life began to form and so did my motivation for school. I was around a healthy community where I could get pushed to my potential. I began to handle my responsibilities at home with ease, which gave me more freedom at school. I had the opportunity to involve myself more with my classes, clubs, and sports teams. I overcame my depression with a healthy outlet. Now, I have my eyes set on becoming a doctor, which is something I could never set a goal on in the past.”
The magic of the highschool sports activities expertise nonetheless exists. You simply want to go to a Metropolis Part cross-country meet to really feel it, see it and listen to it. The Metropolis finals are Saturday morning at Pierce School.