ARS Athletics: Why district funding is important

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Sammie Seamon, Our Voices Editor

The 2016 Ann Richards Varsity Cross Country team warm up in preparation for their race. Photo by Maddy Schell.

It was impossibly hot. No tree limbs reached out to give any sort of relief, and the white, chalky gravel was continuously being kicked up into my face. I could see the finish line about 300 meters away, a gradual uphill clearing a straight line to it. Black dots threatened my vision, my calves numb, and my skin baking against the sun.

Seeing girls off to the side collapsed, I so badly wanted to do the same. In my peripheral vision, I see a girl pass me, but in my blurry thoughts I don’t care at all. I cross the finish line after the long stretch, and an Ann Richards dad is there to lead me back to the camp. The girl who passed me grabs a medal held out to her and staggers away. “Where’s my medal?” I desperately ask. “The girl in front of me got one.” The volunteer calls over one of the managers and I am told that the first fifteen finishers place. I was sixteenth, so no medal. In a split second I remember the girl who passed me, double over, and cry.

I love running. Running is such a major aspect of who I am that I don’t know a version of me without it. I’m not that girl who has been playing soccer since she was three, with rock hard muscles that have been built up since childhood. I’m most definitely not the best runner, but I still work hard and get frustrated when I’m not as good as I need to be in races. This negativity led to an extreme phobia of the starting line. Being on the starting line, even watching as video of me doing so, leads to a bout of nausea and tears. Not to mention knees that aren’t angled the way they’re supposed to, and the shin splints that burn every time I run. Running is such a process, sometimes painful, sometimes stressful, but always therapeutic to me. My happiest day was crossing the finish line in Old Settler’s Park, with a 5k record time beaten by over a minute. My coach met me at the camp, told me my time, and gave me the tightest hug until I was afraid I would burst with pure, overflowing joy. Just the chance of getting to experience that feeling one more time is worth the tears at the starting line, and the pain I feel at practice everyday.

Moreover, this is just my experience. There are so many others, just like it, experienced by thousands of teenage runners just like me. As Porter Middle School used our building before us, our sports facilities are designed for middle school sports, and were never completely renovated when Ann Richards moved in. Hard work put in by all of our ARS sports teams deserves to be supported in every way, maybe most importantly financially. We should at least make sure that we get the same access to quality facilities as any other school, because it does make a difference. Thank you to all of the ARS coaches, to all of the wonderful booster clubs, and all of our supportive parents who email our press wanting change.