Track and field is without a doubt one of my favorite sports. When I was in high school, I was on the team for all four years, and I loved it. I was a sprinter and a jumper, but I still maintained appreciation for the other events as well. One of my favorite races to watch was the hurdles. For anyone who’s never watched a hurdle event, hurdles are essentially mini fences that are placed throughout the track. It’s the job of the person who’s running to jump over these wooden or plastic bars whenever they approach one. I’m a total clutz, and running in a straight line wasn’t always easy for me to do, so the fact that people can do that while not tripping over the hurdles in front of them is pretty impressive. Because I did sprints, I would practice with the hurdlers a lot. They still needed to practice maintaining their speed, so many times they would do the same workouts as us. When they weren’t working with us, however, they were practicing with their hurdles. In order to make their jumps easier and more fluid, they would each pick a set amount of steps they would do before they would go over the hurdle. The length of their stride and the distance between each hurdle would determine that. Because my teammates weren’t professional athletes, they would mess up on occasion. It was clear to see when they messed up on their count because they would stutter step right before they got to the hurdle. This was the smart option if they wanted to avoid coming up short and clipping their ankle or leg on one of the bars as they went over it. Even though they didn’t get it right all of the time, it was still astounding to watch them as they added one more element to their sprint that made it that much harder for them to finish the race.
It would be pretty amazing if life was like a 100m race instead of a 110m hurdle event. With the sprint, it would be smooth sailing. You would be born and then after that you would just go through your life without any difficulties. When you did eventually end up dying, you could say that you accomplished everything that you wanted to do in life with complete and total ease, but that’s not reality. From the moment we’re born, we’re a part of that hurdle race. We may go a few days, weeks, months, or even years without any problems, but that clear field won’t last forever. At some point in time, we’re going to end up approaching a hurdle and we have two options. We can run into it and let it keep us down. We could be like someone who’s trying out the hurdling event for the first time, but when that person hits their first hurdle they give up and never try again. Or we could choose to be like my teammates. Most of the time when they hit that obstacle, they jumped over it with ease. They didn’t let it get in the way of ruining their success. On some occasions the hurdle wasn’t so easy to get over however and they stutter stepped before they made their way over it. But they still didn’t let that struggle stop them from finishing. And other times they would hit the hurdle hard, but they would get back up and keep going and finish the race, even if they didn’t reach the end in the way that they had wanted to.
Positive thinker, life is full of hurdles, but you have to keep on jumping over them. If you really want to make it to the end and finish your race then you can’t give up. The hurdles may not be ideal, but they’re only going to make you stronger. When you hit the first one, you may not know how to handle it, but every time after that will prepare you a little bit more for the next one. It’s never going to stop being hard, but you’ll learn how to deal with it better. And once you start to see the finish line, you’ll realize that you can dig deep and find that extra push that’s going to get you to the end. Reaching your goal may be difficult, but when you finally reach it, you’ll be happy that you stuck with it and that you didn’t give up.