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Varsity Letters

Tell your inspirational stories

By admin Published: April 8, 2008

When it comes to track, it's always about who ran the fastest, jumped the highest or threw the shot or the discus the farthest. But sometimes there are stories, GREAT, INSPRATIONAL STORIES, that don't have to do with who won.

For instance, I remember watching the local news in the fall, I think it was, and there was an amazing story about a young lady (she may have been from the Youngstown area), who was competing in the state high school cross country meet and was almost near the finish line. Then came a gruesome sight. She broke her leg on the course and fell to the ground.

But this young lady had the courage and fortitude to crawl and limp her way to the finish line, despite being in obvious pain.

It was a story of incredible self-will. This young lady needed medical help, but she didn't want it. She was withering with pain but she wanted to finish that race, and if you watched the video, you couldn't help but get a little emotional, knowing she was in a world of pain. But watching her will her way to that finish line, regardless of the pain she was experiencing, was breathtaking and moving.

The yound lady gave a great television interview a few days later and it was great to see she was doing well and was in good spirts. I think she even joked that all she was thinking about, when she went down, was that she wasn't going to be able to dance at her sister's wedding later that night.

I witnessed another incredible story, but it didn't involve injury. A few years ago I was covering a regional track meet at Ravenna and the Copley girls were favored in this particular relay event. As the race began, Copley was right there, as expected. But during one of the exchanges, the baton was dropped and the team was out of the race.

The young lady who dropped the baton was devasted. I mean, I had never seen an athlete more distraught. What I found out later was that the young lady was only a sophomore and there were two seniors on that relay team. The sophomore felt she had blown it for the seniors because it was their last chance to make it to state.

She was on the infield of the track, as the race was still going, slumped over an emotional ball.

She just shuddered and shook as she cried.

Then, former Copley standout Carrie Dyer, who was a senior and on that relay team, ran to the young runner to comfort her.

Then the rest of the realy team followed.

To me, that was one of the most inspirational stories I had ever witnessed.

The sophomore was heartbroken. But she was heartbroken because she cared about her teammates and wanted to perform at her best so that it would help the seniors.

It didn't happen. But when it didn't happen, the seniors weren't mad, bitter or upset. They showed support for their younger teammate because they loved her. And in the end, winning didn't matter.

So, with that, I'm asking readers to post any inspirational stories you witnessed, in track or any other sport, that didn't involve someone winning.

A story where someone overcame odds to get where they are. Or a story about teammates helping one another.

Those are the most compelling stories.

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