“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
Walking into Prefontaine Track every year on the first day of preseason, it’s always slightly jolting. Part of this is the first day jitters, but mostly it’s that I am walking in the gates knowing that I am entering a culture of greatness. Not just of great athletic achievement but a culture that turns young adults into respectable and poised people who will leave the track better than they arrived.
Coach Mac was the first to instill this into me, and before that countless others added to the legacy of Marshfield Track and Field. This sport is not like any others that I have been apart of, and this team isn’t like any other team in the state. Expectations are set high to push athletes to the limits not to make them run faster or throw farther, but to let the athletes feel how great it is when they surpass those expectations and then set even high ones for themselves.
Prefontaine track is a special place. It’s a place where I gained confidence, integrity, and a greater respect for myself and others. I cannot imagine what my high school years would have been like if I had not spent almost six months every year on the track and field team. I am proud to have been apart of a culture that is known for the qualities I have talked about, and I hope that I can continue the legacy once I leave high school. That is what being apart of this team is about.
Steve Prefontaine, undoubtedly a catapult of this long legacy, said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” To me, this has applied to track and field, but that isn’t where it stops. Life itself is a gift, and it’s short. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom that I am almost done with my time as a kid. I mean this in the sense that this fall I will leave home and no longer be dependent on others. I never want to look back on a chapter in my life and think that I didn’t give my best in everything that I did. That is what this quote means to me, and as I leave Coos Bay to go to Oregon State University this fall I know that I will use this to always strive for the best.