Yesterday was a day of great significance in the history of Indian Rocks Christian School. It wasn’t because Pastor Jeff spoke in chapel and did a great job in challenging our students. It wasn’t because we did anything extraordinary in observance of September 11th. It wasn’t even because the Middle School football team pounded Carrollwood Day 47-6. For the first time in the history of our school, we hosted a cross country meet on our campus. If I were in charge of attempting a feat like this for the first time, I would probably have confined the experiment to a dual meet, or perhaps even a tri-meet. But no, we hosted 14 teams for three races (MS, girls, and boys) featuring around 300 runners for our first attempt at this. Coach Bobby LaBrandt had a vision and went big. Go big or go home, right? I must admit, I wasn’t so sure about how it would go before the meet; but then I don’t understand a lot of things about the sport, such as why a cross country runner living in Florida, would put themselves through the pain that they do to run three miles in stifling heat and humidity. Or why when they don’t get a lot of accolades or recognition they continue to punish themselves. It can be lonely, as they are frequently not running right beside a teammate. Cross country isn’t particularly set up to be a spectator sport (although we had a tremendous spectator turnout yesterday) so not many people get to share in the enjoyment of their successes. They are accomplished athletes that are very dedicated to their sport. I guess there are just some things that are not meant to be understood.
Not only did IRCS host a big meet for their first attempt but they were very successful in the outcome. Senior Bobbi LaBrandt used a strong 2nd place individual finish and Mia Gillespie came in 6th to help the girls’ team finish 2nd overall. Luke Boeche, also a senior, finished 2nd in the boys’ race followed by Cooper LaBrandt’s 5th place finish helping the IRCS team win the boys race. For this event it was preplanned to combine the boys and girls scores for an overall winner and IRCS won that as well. Not bad for a first attempt. I was able to talk to several of students after the race so I asked them about how they felt being able to have a meet right here at school. The overall consensus was that they loved it. They enjoyed the course. They liked the number of people that were here to watch. And many of them turned in some great times, in fact one girl cut 3 minutes off of her best time.
One other unique part of the day was that Charlie Hall, our digital arts teacher, live-streamed the races. Vern Kinsey was able to announce both the live stream and the public address parts of the meet. We also had great teamwork from our Facilities and Security departments or none of these successes would have been possible. A number of alumni were able to watch online, including some that are in college, on scholarships they earned for their running ability. You can see the archived version of the meet by going to the school’s website and clicking on the IRCSLive! button. Everything we have livestreamed from athletics to chapels is archived there and available for viewing.
If you see a cross country runner, be sure to high five them for their effort and ability. They don’t get much recognition but they work very hard. They must possess great self-motivation and determination. They also need a great deal of patience and endurance. To be highly successful they also must be able to have a strong sense of focus on what they are doing. It reminds me of the verses in Hebrews 12 where the author says, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. . . .”
So as we look forward to the rest of the school year, our hope is that “looking to Jesus” for guidance, strength, and direction would be our goal as a school.