Slice of Life: Pre-Race Huddle #SOL15

slice of life

We stand in our box, muscles flexed at the ready. I keep my eyes forward, focused on the narrowed path at the end of the field. Instead of the gun, I hear a voice next to me say go. We are moving forward in one fluid motion, sprinting part of the way down the field. It’s called a stride. We do them before a race to practice the start, keep our heart rates elevated, and begin our team huddle.

We’ve ran about the right distance, and someone starts to slow down. Like dominoes, we all follow suit. We get in a circle, and wrap our arms around one another. The adrenaline is pumping through my body. I’m nervous, excited, and panicked all at the same time. The contact reminds me that we are all here together. I begin to take deep breaths through my nose.

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Jayme speaks first. My eyes are on her. As she speaks, they drift down to my red spikes. I’m doing my best to soak in her words of encouragement. She reminds us to have fun and just race; I’m reminded not to take myself too seriously.

Becca picks up after a brief silence. She reminds us of our home course and that long, steep hill. These hills are nothing. We let out a few nervous laughs. My eyes are still on my shoes. I feel the butterflies fluttering against the walls of my stomach.

I go last. This year was the first year that I was brave enough to ask to pray. When I did, my heart was hammering. In the half a second it took for an answer, I had rehearsed how to handle the rejection. Instead, I was left wondering why I hadn’t asked sooner.

We bow our heads. There are 30 teams striding around us. There are around 400 bodies standing by the starting line, and yet everything is still. We might as well be the only team on the field. I feel words of comfort pour from my mouth. I don’t know if the team feels the same way, but I feel peace begin to slowly wrap around me. God is with me at the start of the race, in the middle of the race, and at the end of the race. I can see that. I can feel His presence. I can feel the promises of love and guidance. I make some promises in return. I promise to pour myself out for him in this race, just as he poured himself out for me.

I take a slow deep breath. My nerves are gone. The butterflies have settled.

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4 responses to “Slice of Life: Pre-Race Huddle #SOL15

  1. Nicky,
    I began composing my response to this piece in my head before I finished reading it and I was thinking to myself that your writing is always so peaceful. Then I read the next paragraph and these words, “but I feel peace begin to slowly wrap around me” and thought ‘yep, this is exactly what I feel whenever I read your writing’. Even when what you are writing about is not peaceful, that feeling is always there for me.
    Melissa

  2. Melissa, thank you so much. I was really trying hard to create a mood of peace. It’s easy for me to feel it of course because I wrote it. I’m so glad that I was able to portray that. Thank you for the kind words. 🙂

  3. I almost cried when I got to the part where you asked the team to pray and they all agreed. With last weeks school shooting targeting Christians, it gives me hope still hearing/seeing public displays of it.
    I did track all throughout middle school and high school and your writing made me relive all of the beautiful anxiety that comes along with it. I can totally understand the paradoxical relationship you described between peace and unrest.

    • Thank you so much! Why are we always so afraid to ask things like this. The worst thing that could happen is they say “no” and we move on. I’m so happy that you were able to feel the emotions of unrest and peace. It’s something that is a so hard to describe.

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