A Show of Support

Why students should attend smaller sporting events


It was 8 a.m. on Saturday and I-35 was as empty as I had ever seen it.

“Proceed on the current road for 40 miles,” Google maps said flatly.

I groaned inwardly. There were a lot of things I would rather have been doing Saturday morning, but someone had signed me up to take pictures of cross country Regionals so here I was on my way to Garnett, Kan. I tuned Spotify to comedy radio and did my best to ignore the boredom that began to set in.

An hour and a half later, I had made it to my destination, a small golf course swarmed with cross country athletes and their families. I lugged the camera out of my backseat. After wandering around for a few moments, I caught sight of our boys team warming up, and I followed them back to our camp. In the time before the race began senior Nathan Beach showed me around the course as I scouted picture locations. We passed by hills and spots of gravel and Beach commented on each one. To him these were not just natural landmarks, they obstacles and even though he wasn’t racing that day he still worked out strategies to overcome them.

The race was starting soon and all of the boys from each of the schools lined up in their lanes to begin the race. Only parents and teammates lined the sides to cheer them on. There was not a single student fan. The KCC boys circled up and prayed. When they finished, they began to hype each other up with their traditional cross country chant. Excited and full of energy, they took their place on the start line. The starter fired his pistol and the racers scrambled off the finish line. Beach and I cut across the course to catch up to them, and he yelled encouragement as I snapped pictures.

As we ran after them, I couldn’t help but feel a mix of pride and guilt. I was proud of our team for subjecting themselves to this grueling and thankless race and guilty that in my four years of high school I had never been to a single meet before. Watching both the girls and guys race turned out to be one of the most enjoyable ways I could have spent that Saturday morning and I regret not making it to more cross country meets. The same could be said for tennis and volleyball too. If I could pass on any advice as a senior it would be to take every opportunity to cheer on your friends and classmates. Whether it is cross country or golf, these students need love and support too. This Saturday is the State cross country meet and I would implore every student to make it out to Wamego to cheer them on. I promise the drive will be worth it.