Guest Post from S.
If you have never been to a High School Track Meet I would highly suggest you attend one sometime. Watching it on TV or Youtube doesn’t count. You need to be there, where the only thing between you and the track is a chain link fence.
First of all, we are talking about a team sport.. Not just one person, but numerous people.. Many components are needed to make a team. Several members of that team are entered in multiple events. Some of them compete in individual events, some compete in group events. You have sprinters, javelin throwers, long distance runners. You can’t have a strong team if everyone competes in the same event. You need all different kinds of athletes. Even though an individual wins the 200 meter race or an individual wins the high jump, the points from those single events are added together and awarded to the team total. So when all the events are done, it is the whole team that places 1st, 2nd or 3rd.
I like to stand next to the fence and hear people cheering on their kids or their kids’ teammates. I like to cheer for them too. It is pretty cool to watch the pieces of rubber from the track fly up into the air as the sprinters in the 100 meter dash fly by. The way the pole vaulters defy gravity to make it off the ground and the mechanics it takes to maneuver themselves over the bar is mind boggling. Watch teenagers take on the two mile run and seem like they have given everything they have, only to pull up something from deep within and sprint to the finish line. These are all exciting things. Yet to me, the most interesting part of a track meet takes place on the infield. If you get the opportunity, pay attention to what goes on on the inside of the track.
Here you will find fellow teammates, coaches and friends walk the infield, in an almost continuous fashion, back and forth, criss cross, around and around. What they are doing is clapping for their fellow runners, encouraging them, convincing them that “Hey, you’ve got this”. Promising the finish line is close, shouting to keep going. So if you happen to be a runner on the track, you will be met by several of your teammates at various points in your race, and their job is to convince you to keep going, don’t give up, don’t stop, you’ve got this. It’s just like life! We have team members that show up when we are low, team members that console us, give us advice, listen when we need an ear, and convince us to not give up now, but keep going.
In every race, they are all going for 1st place. That is the goal. No one trains exactly the same, they all have different running styles, or long jump techniques, but they all want to cross the finish line first, or throw a shot put the farthest. I Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run so that you may obtain it”. Paul was encouraging the Corinthians and us to pursue our Christian walk with the same effort it takes to win first place in a race. For if we don’t strive to win first place, what is the point of running in the first place? We are to put everything we have, all of our best efforts into walking with Christ.
Congratulations! We are all on a track team. That’s right! Tiny shorts and tight shirts here we come! Think about it. Events or situations in life sometimes force you onto the track. You struggle, and at times feel like you can’t go on or are about to give in, or fall to your knees in defeat. But lift your eyes, and there will be a friend, a brother or sister in Christ or family member, clapping for you, cheering for you, yelling that you can make it! By God’s grace, you will find the motivation , the strength, the grit to carry on. At times in life we are not on the track, but we know someone who is and it will be your turn to walk the infield, cheering on someone else who feels they can’t take another step, someone who doesn’t know which way to go. Giving someone some direction, helping them along the way.
Who is on your infield? I am sure you can think of a few names right now of those friends that are close to you, waiting for the chance to lift you up. For many of us it is parents or grandparents if you still have some around. Co-workers, etc.
Tough question. Whose infield are you on? Would someone name you as part of their track team? Right now, at this young, tender and impressionable age, all our kids are on the track. The world is sending them contrary messages to what we are telling them every Wednesday. Their friends, social media, even members of their own household will not encourage them or support them to walk with the Lord. My friends, what an awesome, unbelievable mind blowing privilege God has given us by allowing us to be on their infield!