Why being cut from a sport is never your end


Carson Buck

Failing is not the end of your story.

by Carson Buck, Reporter

Being defeated is not the end. I went from basically sitting on the sidelines freshman year of soccer to being on a state title winning team in cross country the following year.  Athletes need to think outside of the “bench.”  It’s possible to try a new sport and be successful.

In the summer of freshman year, I remember I was excited to be playing a high school sport, and I was deciding between ether soccer or cross country. I chose to play soccer, and I didn’t regret the decision at first. It was my first high school sports experience, and I had fun, even though I played few minutes of the games. I didn’t feel I contributed much to the team, so I still had a sliver of a thought in the back of my mind that, what if I had joined cross country?

After my freshmen year of fall soccer, I signed up for winter indoor track. It was my first taste of competitive running. I remember my first meet vividly.  I was running a 4×200 meter relay. Thinking back on it, I had no idea what I was doing running that event, but I was happy to be running at my first meet. I had the mindset to want to improve. Funny thing is that this was my only 200 I ever ran in high school. I still have a terrible 200 time. I started to run the 4×800, and I found an event I liked at the time. My first time running at regionals was my freshman year. I somehow made the 4×800 team even with an injury.  This was my first taste of running success, and I was hooked.

I then moved on to the outdoor season of track, which I was most excited for. The outdoor season has more opportunities, more events for a distance runner. The race I remember the most was a race called “The Devil Takes the Hindmost.” Every lap of the race two people are eliminated. The race starts with a field of about 80 or so runners. I came in about 30th, which was fine for me, considering it was my first season. It’s a school tradition for freshmen to run the race each year.

The turning point for me mentally was my second place in the JV championship mile. It’s not really that impressive in terms of achievement, but for me, it was the mental aspect. It made me believe I was a distance runner.

I was still doing club soccer my sophomore year.  I tried out for soccer because my dad was a club soccer coach, and my compromise with him was to do soccer one more year and then do cross country the next year.

I was cut from the team that year, and I’d say it’s probably one of the lowest moments of my life even though my heart wasn’t really into playing soccer. Getting cut is basically a like being cast down to the bottom of a deep well with no escape. That’s how I felt.

I didn’t know how I would get out except the one option I had left. I called up my now coach Andres Wright and explained the predicament that I was in, it was one of those life-changing phone calls because from then on I had the lifeline to escape the well and the line was the cross country team.

The team was an amazing experience, but it was tough for me to get a spot on varsity that year. Each week it seemed like I was in and out of the varsity team going from 7th runner to 8th runner and back to 7th and even 6th runner for a week. It took a lot of hard work for me to be successful on the team. I realized I loved the sport because it rewards people for the immense hard work they put into it.

The cross country team is a great environment. They are like a second family, and the community of runners is amazing. A lot of the people who are cross country were formerly from other sports. In addition,  a lot of people don’t realize that the scholarship opportunities are immense because in running the only thing that determines your skill is your time. 

Cross country won a state title in 2017 , and I felt at that moment honored to be a part of something special. It was special it had been 27 years since our school’s last title. I remember the joy of the celebrations. It was the happiest I’d felt in a long time. We shared the spotlight in, arguably, the best year of Linganore sports, since the football, cheerleading, and girls soccer team had won states as well. The thing that kept me motivated coming into the next season is that I was barely left out of the states team by a few seconds. I ended up rebounding in 2018 with a sixth place overall finish at states. 

From the beginning of our athletics, we get corrupted messages such as winning is the only thing that matters, but what truly matters is that you never settle with the success you have. After you win you have to come out the next day and work even harder because the most dangerous thing we can do is to think that we are perfect at what we do. Overall just believe in what you do.  Work hard for something you want to achieve.