The Uncommon App: Emotional Marathons

Graphic by Isabella Xie

By Abby Lass

Class of 2017

Prompt: Explain the role of sports in your life.

When I was younger, no one explained to me that there was any way to run other than sprinting. My expectation was always that you ran as fast as you possibly could, for as long as you possibly could, until you dropped to the ground and gasped for air like a fish on a dock.

I took a similar approach to life, too– expelling absolutely every ounce of physical, intellectual, and emotional energy without regard for what would be asked of me tomorrow. It wasn’t necessarily a matter of consistently trying to be the best, which I often wasn’t, but more of a means of establishing a reputation that I could be counted on, no matter the circumstances. But as I learned later on, you can’t sprint all the time. No runner ever does, especially the ones that go on to win marathons. And best of all, no one expects them to.

It was grueling and frustrating and it often left me feeling like I wasn’t moving at all, but eventually I learned to jog, and I was stunned by the fact that people still cheered me at the finish lines. They knew, and eventually I did too, that choosing not to sprint did not mean that I was not giving my everything, and that saving some energy for the next race, for myself, would end up making me a better athlete and a better person.