It has become the trending topic and video of the current news cycle, the Women’s 4×400 relay at the NCAA Championships. The odds, the pressure, the botched hand-off, and the comeback. Words do not do it justice. Watch the video – it is the best 5 minutes of the week.
Sports is such an illustrator of life lessons, and in sports there is nothing as humbling and clarifying as the track. Everyone is competing in the same arena, across the same distance, against the unforgiving clock. And when it comes to the 400, or 800 and 1600, it is equal parts physical ability and mental stamina. It flipping hurts running fast over distance.
It was just the reminder we need:
- Never, ever stop chasing. Run the entire race.
- Never take your foot off the gas. If you are in front, know with absolute certainty that there is someone, somewhere, coming up behind you.
- There will be hiccups, bobbles and misfortune along the way. It is not about what happens, it is about how you react.
It was an amazing race for the USC Women. They had one chance to win the entire meet, win the 4×400, the final event. While everyone will remember that last closing 100 meters, it was every step, by every one of the women, in every leg, that ensured the victory. If any of them had run one step slower, none of it would have mattered. And if any of their teammates, in any of the events, had not given their all throughout the weekend, the stage would not have been set for the dramatic final race.
Sports, and especially the track, is a great equalizer. It is also a great case study of the relationship between practice, effort, commitment, teamwork, and victory. It took all they had in that moment, but it also took all they had in practice, throughout the course of the season, and in that meet, to create the opportunity.
We owe it to ourselves to run the race, and do all that it takes to get to the point to be in the race. And when in the race, we run the entire race, as hard as we can, no matter what happens along the way.
As the Trojan’s say, “fight on”.