The upper school cross country team started their training regimen in the middle of a hot and smokey August. It is not easy to be the first to do something, a founder. There were no veteran teammates to guide Connor, Patrick, Ella, Liz, Dylan, Byron, and Jacob and to demonstrate what could be achieved, just coaches Dave and Snape following on bike and foot with encouraging words. From those first few uncomfortable and uncertain days of practice, every member of the team has made huge progress, building their confidence and skills, and now have the first competition under their belt.
Interscholastic athletics enrich the educational experience of students and act as a vehicle to promote learning. It is not about winning races or even setting a personal best in a race, although these are of course happy outcomes. Competing in athletic endeavors is about dedicating oneself to a difficult and challenging endeavor, an endeavor that does not have a set pinnacle of achievement. You can always climb higher. It is about improving one's skills and contributing to a team effort. It is about fun, team camaraderie and building relationships. It is about sacrifice, overcoming defeat and facing adversity. And it involves setting goals for the season, for the week, for the day, and for the next 30 seconds, then analyzing the results of practices and competitions to determine what adjustments need to be made in order to improve performance and achieve one's goals. At Cascades Academy, students have many avenues to engage in and experience this learning; interscholastic athletics is just the latest lens through which to tackle it.
It was great to see and support the team at their first meet at Silver Falls State Park last week. The conditions were great! We had clear skies, cooler temperatures, and, with close to 200 runners in each race, plenty of competition! Everyone had a strong performance and on the bus ride back from the meet students were analyzing their races, discussing what they learned from their first meet experience, and already planning how to improve their individual performance. Coaches Dave and Snape couldn't have been happier with how the day turned out. We also learned that Poppa Al's in Mill City makes a delicious burger and that even after a grueling cross country race, a 32 ounce Oreo milkshake is difficult to finish. Our next meet will be Saturday, September 30 at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort. Join us if you can!