You’re the light green line. The green line represents freshmen, the pink line represents the crowd that has “piano lessons Thursday and Friday,” and the coach lets it slide. He’s got the red and blue lines (girls and boys varsity respectively) who can all give him one or two seasons of solid running in his top seven, plus plenty of potential in boys and girls JV (pink and blue).
Practice begins. The ringleader of your group explains while stretching that the purpose of the cross-country team is not in fact to run, but to “explore.” While you try to figure out what this means, he adjusts his Bob Marley socks and trades banter with the group.
Today’s practice: a 30 minute run at an easy pace. There’s a meet tomorrow and coach doesn’t want to tire the team. Bob Marley takes you through the parking lot and out onto the road so he can wave to friends mowing a lawn. He then leads you back on a sluggish trip through the parking lot until practice is over. You’re disappointed. You missed the other exciting runs going on.
The pink group managed to break off from the pack by slipping past the football team. They made their way into the school through an exit and after hanging out in the custodial lounge, snuck through classrooms before running out the loading dock.
The blue line are the coolest thing you’ve ever seen. After an unnecessary lap in the woods to tease the Varsity girls, these Track Bros swoop around the ground parking lot, carving a path behind some little-used building students like to be seen near. Drivers slow to a standstill. The mowers stop. These guys are serious. After rounding the school to high-five the football team, they return to the track and exchange jokes with the girl’s soccer team, all while moving like gazelles. If only you were that fast. And they do it in short shorts, just to remind everyone how little they care.
The girl’s varsity is a very mysterious place. No one knows what goes on during their runs. What you’ll find out in a couple years is that they take a narrow path through the woods above the school, making jokes about everyone in their classes, the running team, all the other teams…in that narrow path, they are free from the rest of the school. This elite group will do anything to protect their secrets, and it is only through great physical pain and personal sacrifice that a young freshman straggler manages to bring it to you after hearing it where he crouched peeing among the ferns as they streaked past.
The JV runners, male and female, attempt to sadly follow their Varsity counterpart’s footsteps, but aren’t there yet. Not much happens on their run. The JV girls take an unnecessary lap around the track because the most outspoken one thinks the Boys’ Soccer captain is cute. In four years you’ll be in college and this will be a sweaty memory.