Let's be SOCIAL


Remaztered Studio via Pixabay


    Last night as I watched nationally-ranked high jumper Tyus Wilson from Sterling compete at our CKTL meet, I was struck by a distinctive element of track and field. No matter where you come from, how small your town or school is, how good your team is, an individual athlete has the chance to excel. And sometimes, like Tyus last night, a top national mark is set at a small, rural America meet. Even though not every athlete will take a national spotlight, personal bests are set each meet by a range of athletes -- in fact, many of our Hillsboro athletes set PRs last night -- and my guess is, each team represented last night had athletes who could raise their hand to the question, “who set a PR at the Hillsboro meet?” That particular element of track and field is no doubt exciting. But it's important to remember that the athletes competing individually are also competing as a team. 

    For every individual place, 1st-6th, points are allocated to the represented team. At the end of the meet, points are tallied, and the team with the highest total wins the meet. Two years ago, our boys team took second in Class 2A at the state track meet. Last night both our teams took 3rd in their respective divisions. 

As I pondered all of this the morning after, rehashing the meet as a coach does, I ran across a Tweet by Sarah E. Westfall where she said: 

“When it comes to our stories, we seem to think that our individual narrative is either too important or not important enough. I have done both. But what if instead of attaching value to our stories we saw them as an avenue of connection? Not a measure of worth but a way to love?”

    And of course, I thought of track and field. In the sport, an athlete has to hold a balance between individual performance and team performance. An athlete’s individual performance is important -- there wouldn’t be track and field without individuality -- but it’s certainly not the only and utmost. Each athlete is inter-connected to his or her teammates. 

    This is important, and holds its value off the track. As humans, we all have stories that are both individual and also interconnected. Just a quick scan of the last week will display the truth of that statement for each of us. This is where Sarah’s questions are important. If we don’t hold our stories with balance, we’ll error in two ways: we’ll think our stories are of utmost importance, or of no significance. Neither way is true. For instance, Tyus’ high jump of 7’2” will gain him national acclaim, but his win contributed no more points to his team’s total than our team’s kids who didn’t set national records but placed first in their individual events. Each first = 10 points; no more, no less. 

    To me, this is striking. 

    We’re individuals but we’re also connected. Our stories are both individual and corporate. We must strike a balance, accepting both elements, remembering that, like Sarah says, sharing our lives is not about worth, but a way to love.   


  1. Love this Melinda!!! I needed this read for both myself and my kids. Thank you so much for sharing and for your witness. 💗

    1. I'm so glad it was helpful Kristen!

    2. Wow Malinda! This is striking. What a perfect illustration.


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