I do not speak much anymore of my time running track and cross country. I am certainly no longer in the shape to run competitively, or even much at all. It was a great time though and one race in particular stands out now that I am watching the media roll their eyes at Bernie Sanders for staying in the Democratic Primary right to the end.
It was my sophomore year, my second year running track. I never did figure out exactly what I liked to run best. I enjoyed long distance, but enjoyed the challenge of being only five foot six and doing the hurdles, both intermediate and high. We had an amazing long distance squad, full of guys who could compete at the state level, so in long distance, even though I did fairly well, I was JV. That spring, however, the coaches decided to let the JV team have a little time in the sun, they knew the talent we had in both squads. So while the varsity team went to one invitational, the JV squad was sent to another, to run against other schools’ varsity teams.
The last event I ran that day was the 1600m mixed medley relay: a 400m runner, two 200m runners, and finally me doing the 800. I had already taken second in the 800 earlier that day (I failed to place in the 400m hurdles.) I was stoked, but there were a couple of problems. Our first 200m runner was a distance guy. Fast to be sure, but not a sprinter. The other 200m runner was a bullet. He would go on to be a stand out on the team later. The thing is, he was sick as a dog, the flu, but refused to not run. By the time he took the baton, we were already in last place and by the time it got to my hand, we were 100m behind the next worse team and half a lap behind first. I could have just said eff it and half assed a semi decent split. Instead I put my head down and flat out sprinted for half a mile. When it was over I had my best time ever, and we were in second, right on the heels of the guy who beat me earlier that day. We never quit that race. Curtis, out of his element, did not quit. Dan, sick as a dog, did not quit, and I, way back in last, did not quit. We owed it to each other, our coaches, and our teammates.
Just as Bernie and his supporters owe it to each other. We owe it to the country. We owe it to the nearly forty million Californians, nearly as many people as in Texas and Florida combined, to say their voices matter too. Hell, as frustrated and confused as I am by Hillary supporters (seriously still do not get how they did not ditch her after the unsolicited Kissinger name drop, are we that far gone, morally, as a nation), we even owe it to them, to get them the best candidate they can, someone who has to listen to the voices of those forty million Californians, even if Bernie does not win.
They tell us the race is over, but a big win in California can push Bernie over Hillary in pledged delegates. It is an unlikely scenario, I know. We are told that Bernie is not being honest with us about his chances, but we have always known it was going to be a hard race, always from behind. That does not mean you stop running though. It means you put your head down, and sprint that last half mile.