This I Believe

Colleen - Lakewood, Ohio
Entered on May 8, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I realized something at the Berea Relays.

It was one of my last high school track meets, and I wanted to run really well. I was anchoring the Distance Medley relay with the mile. Previously, my fastest mile was 6:09; my goal was knock a few seconds off of that time. I got the baton and took off running… six minutes and 20 seconds later, I was out-kicked in the final stretch by another team’s runner.

Running is my favorite thing in the world. Especially running track. The problem is, I’m not exactly the most gifted runner. Really, I am almost completely devoid of any athletic talent or natural running ability. All I have is an illogical but unerring desire to run fast.

Frustration thus ensues.

I was frustrated at the Berea Relays. Later on, after my race, I stood in the stands and watched Paul Verga, the fastest distance runner, win the two mile race convincingly. I wondered what it felt like to really actually win a race. To cross the finish line first. I watched as he put his t-shirt back on over his uniform and jogged around the infield of the track to cool down. He made it look so easy. Bounding around the turf, he was grinning and talking to people and barely breathing hard, but still running at a pace that would probably leave me in the dust. I tried to fathom what it would be like to have that sheer ability to run fast.

Then I thought back to earlier that day. First period, to be exact, when I tutored a tenth grade student in geometry. I took geometry in the eighth grade; now I’m a senior and taking AP Calculus. I’ve always done well in math, and in school in general. I’m third in my class, my GPA is ridiculously high, and I haven’t gotten a B since elementary school. But tutoring this student made me realize how much I’ve taken it for granted. Sure, I work hard to get good grades, but I’ve never had any real trouble understanding things, especially in math. I might forget a formula or miscalculate a problem, but math, and learning in general, has always come easily to me.

Everything clicked, then, at the Berea Relays. Paul works quite hard at running, yes, although he is also very talented. But he might not be able to understand integration with trigonometric substitutions right away. I work hard at school, yes, but in the end, God gave me the ability to be able to comprehend complicated math. I just don’t have the ability to blow the rest of the field away in a race.

This realization hasn’t necessarily consoled me. It might be easier to bear if I preferred solving differential equations to running races. Everyone has a talent. Sometimes, it’s overlooked or taken for granted; sometimes, it brings glory. My belief seems so basic, but it is often forgotten: We each have a gift.