Josh said, "Ben, if I buy you some running shoes, will you run cross-country with me?"
Ben was going to be a Freshman. Josh was going to be a Senior. Ben didn't have any other fall sports to do. Why not?! Ben thought it would be fun to run around with Josh and his running buddies.
I LOVE these sibling relationships! Here is a Senior, asking his "little" Freshman brother to be involved in a high school sport with him. REALLY cool thing ... a couple of years before, it was Carissa & Lindsey (the Seniors) asking their "little" brother Josh (the Sophomore) to run track with them. (He had never run before; so, he did track his Sophomore year and added Cross-Country his Junior year.)
Ben said, "Yes." to cross-country, having no idea the change that simple yes would bring to his life.
Spring 2009 rolled around ... Ben had to make the very difficult decision of whether to continue playing baseball (after about 8 years on baseball teams) ... or switch to track. He chose track (primarily because he was excited about the photography opportunities that it would provide).
Ben enjoyed track. He tried out a few different races, but primarily ran the 800m. He was a new runner ... a Freshman ... on a team that took 1st place at the State Meet. Ben wasn't noticed much ... he just ran and did his best.
Spring 2010 ... Ben joined the track team. And ... a sprinter was born! Ben has had an AMAZING season, with more 1st and 2nd place finishes than I can keep track of.
Last Saturday, was the Tri-District Meet in Seattle. The Top 3 finishers in each event would qualify for the State Meet next weekend. Ben had been struggling with his strained quad muscle for 3 weeks. Mama had prayed all week, that the Lord would bring healing. (Thank you, Jesus!)
100m * Ben was out of the blocks fast. He ran strong. He placed 7th. But ... we were not disappointed. His leg was strong. He wasn't hurting. Yeah, God!!!
4x100m * In order to keep Ben's leg strong for his next 2 events, the coach decided to put in an alternate runner for this race. They were pretty confident that they could still qualify for State, and that Ben would then run this relay at State. However ... the alternate runner missed the hand-off mark. The team was disqualified. Oh. So. Disappointing!!! A crushing blow for a group of hard working young men. Even with the alternate (the 3rd runner) they would have easily made the State qualifying time if they hadn't missed the hand-off. So. Sad.
200m * Ben was, again, out of the blocks fast. He ran strong. He placed 4th. He missed going to State by 1/10th of a second. Oh. So. Hard. Mama prayed for him, that he would be able to work through 3 disappointments, to come out mentally strong for the final race of the day.
4x400m * Two of the other boys on this relay team had been a part of the team that was disqualified earlier in the day. They, too, had to work through the mental side of things. They wanted this ... and they wanted it badly. They were ready to run ... and run they did! These boys placed 3rd, but were far ahead of the 4th place team.
For those of you who live in small states, and "across the state" is just a short drive ... it is 380 miles from our house to Josh's house, which is why he could not come home to watch Ben run.