Sometimes, cross country running at the high school level is all about times and personal bests and scoring and winning and losing a race.
Sometimes, the finish line and the bigger picture is more important.
The VASJ Vikings and Coach Raymon Reed recently realized that huge difference.
VASJ participated in the 5K St. Jude run with no points or medals at stake. It was bigger than that and the Vikings are better for it.
Zack Kohler ran and Austin Barnett, battling injury, walked, but VASJ did its part.
“I’m a high school coach, but I wanted to impart upon our athletes there is more to running and I think we accomplished that,” Reed said.
“Our kids are very mature and very in tune to what us important in life and this event was a tremendous experience.”
Kohler understood the importance of participation in the event.
“The experience I had this weekend was honestly a lot of fun. I think that I took away a lot from the experience. Doing what we do for a sport, as charity, seems like something every team should become interested in. It only takes a couple people to do good for others. When you are surrounded by smiles and such pure, kind people, you can’t help but have a smile on your face as well. Just thinking about how many kids you can help and save by doing a little bit of good just turns your heart. We should be thankful for our lives and the situations we are in, because it could be a lot worse. I look forward to running with this group again as should everyone that is interested in doing a little good for someone. Even if you’re not a runner, and you’d like to contribute to a charity or some kid who needs your help, there are walking groups that walk while runners run. The way you feel after the run, jog, or walk is unexplainable. An experience that should be seen through everyone. Thank you Coach Ray and Celeste, Austin, Roland, Jayda, Jordan, and the families for helping me have this season become more than me or a sport,” Kohler said.
Barnett walked because of injury, but he was convicted to do the right thing.
“When we got there we walked with a group of people. When we were done we stretched and one of the people that organized the event got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. It was special,” Barnett said.
It was more than a race for VASJ.