The Team to Be On- Cairn XC
You’ve seen them around, racing along the walkway or jogging down the road in the distinct maroon of a Highlander. They are the cross country men and women’s teams. Their games are not as popular as Cairn’s soccer or volleyball games, and the cross country team is sometimes overlooked, yet it is always present. These team members, fellow classmates and coworkers touched base with The Scroll to let you know just what the team is all about. After interviewing multiple cross country members, here are the most important things that they want you to know:
- Our Team is Our Family – When questioned on what they gain the most from running in the cross country teams, there was an overwhelmingly unified response on the fact that the team is a family. Matt DeFlavis claimed that despite being a commuter, his “friendship with the cross country team has been unwavering”. Both the men and women cross country teams really get together as a family, sharing a deep friendship that last for years. The teams tide each other through the highs and the lows, and women’s team captain Sarah Skowronek points out that when one teammate has a bad day, they all can feel it. “On the same hand,” she says, “when someone has a great day, we all feel it.” This tight family ideal is formed by what Jon Snider calls “a deeper connection”; something stronger and more meaningful than the regular friendships that one usually makes in college. These teammates push each other to their absolute limit and beyond, developing “friendship and fellowship,” says Christian Vaillencourt, that makes them much like a family.
- The Challenge is Worth It – Running cross country, or even just running in general, is a very difficult challenge. Cross country takes plenty of dedication and hard work. Men’s cross country captain Caleb Basile wisely states that “a challenge can make one give up or get stronger,” and although he had never run prior to college, it was “a challenge which I am very glad I took.” Part of what makes this challenge worthwhile is the fact that there are teammates beside you to cheer you on, encourage you and help you remember what you can accomplish. The teams support each other through the trials and the struggles, providing a form of fellowship and encouragement that can really help each other endure the difficult aspects of running. Probably the strongest testament to the challenge being worth it is experienced by Will Lynd, a cross country runner on the men’s team who has gone through a particularly difficult struggle. In January 2015, Will was diagnosed with “both Chron’s and Colitis,” which made running extremely difficult. But his “family,” his cross country team (teammates and coaches both) have been encouraging and supportive through this difficult time in his life. Lynd states that running “takes so much out of me physically” due to his illnesses, “but with the friendships made through this great sport it makes it all worth it in the end.” Lynd and his supportive teammates are a fantastic testament to how the challenge of running can really be worthwhile.
- Come for the Friends and Fitness – One of the questions that The Scroll asked the cross country teams was about what drew them to running for cross country. Most of the team responded that it was the team itself that drew them in. Some players gained interest in giving cross country a try by enthusiastic team members. Likewise, the “bond” that the team had with each other that DeFlavis experienced during a pre-Cairn overnight visit helped him to know that he “wanted to be a part of the cross country team the first time I met them.” Not only do the teams have a bond, but they are a lot of fun to be with. The “coach and the team itself,” says MacIntire, appealed to both him and Captain Basile. Captain Basile, “after two days of being on the team,” knew that he wanted to “be in it for four years!” The team also shares a special emotional bond that is developed over the course of their time together. True to form, the cross country team shows itself as a family. Not just a family, but a family that others want to be a part of. Captain Basile declared that “running is an opportunity to throw off everything in life that is holding you back and give it your absolute best.” He says that running also “intensifies all positive emotions, and gives you a feeling of accomplishment.” Cross country gives you an opportunity to challenge yourself and try something new: a chance to really push yourself to your limits. Running is never boring with the cross country teams because a lot of the time you can have “an awesome conversation” with your teammates while running, says Vaillencourt. MacIntire states that “the rush I get from running is like none other,” and Captain Skowronek reveals that “running is a spiritual experience,” explaining how “there are so many parallels between the Christian life and cross country.” Running is an experience unlike any other, worth a try and worth all your efforts, and when you run with friends, it’s never wasted time.
- Try It! You Won’t Regret It – When asked what they would say to anyone considering joining the Cross Country team, or just considering to run in general, the teams had a plethora of helpful advice and useful testaments to being on the team. Not only are there “wonderful health benefits,” but “running will teach you to make hard decisions that will reward you,” says Benedict. Some of the “rewards” that Benedict mentions are “a team that becomes like a family and an ability to look beyond pain to the things worth fighting for in this life.” DeFlavis encourages that people interested in running should first meet the team before they decide whether they want to be involved or not. He says that any interested parties should “come out to a team event. Not a race or a practice, but an event where the team is out having fun.” To find out when such events take place, just email Captain Caleb Basile. Captain Basile mentioned that “you should always give someone an opportunity to grow. For me, running was my opportunity.” Running is a unique sport that is all it’s own, and the cross country team is “more than a sport; it’s a family,” says Lynd. Cross country will also challenge your body and mind, and you can grow stronger “physically, mentally, and in Christ,” says Sweeting. If you want to gain friendships that will last a lifetime and better yourself in the process, then cross country is for you. And, finally, Captain Skowronek gives a very wise piece of advice: “Just try it!”
So, if you are considering running for cross country, or just running in general, follow the team’s advice! Such a dynamic and diverse group come together as one family, learning to push themselves to the limit for their bodies, their friends and Christ, so surely you can take those first few steps and get yourself on the road to good health and good friends. After all, Cairn’s cross country team runs well! Whether joining the team or just running in general, it will be well worth your time to get out there and run.
What is your favorite thing about running? Do you have any questions for the team? Comment below and let us know!