Track and Chronicle, my high school loves

Lizzy Thomas

I’ve had two loves all throughout high school. Okay, whatever, right? But I’ve been with both of them, at the same time. DUN DUN DUN.

It wasn’t what it sounds like. They both knew of the other, and agreed to share, albeit begrudgingly, at times.

But now, faced with the inevitable impending end to both relationships, I can’t help but wonder if I had just chosen the one, might I be able to escape the loss of the two.

High school track was the volatile one, demanding everything I had, between three and four times a week. I was offput early on, I’ll admit — but encouraged by the friends it introduced me to and the promise of fast times, by the end of freshmen year, I was all in.

Which isn’t to say I was ready to be easy about it. Oh, how we fought, two, three times a week, when that dreaded word workout hung in the air and I lay exhausted on the ground when it was all over. Did I cry? (Uncountably) many times, to the palpable discomfort of all our mutual friends. Did I stop? Not-as-many-but-still-embarrassingly-a-lot of times, to the chagrin of our shared best friends, Coaches Jonas Koolsbergen and Tim Sharpe.

High school publications was the pragmatic one, asking for an article here and there, but really just for one weekend a month. It didn’t force itself on me all at once, but preferred to let me learn to love it, offering a bigger and more mature commitment each year. Ninth grade was all a naïve whirlwind of Spectrum fun (Lauren Sonnenberg ’14 and I thought we were qualified to write a political column, what?), sophomore year, respectful of the difficulty of the transition and also the extremely competent/scary Chronicle upperclassmen, was mostly just getting coffee, junior year was actually having to work for it and senior year was everything (I mean, I got to be Julia Aizuss’s ’14 partner in execution and advocating for the feature Wildlife on Campus).

So polite, and yet I almost quit it too, daunted by the interviewing (and class period) it required — I have also cried after a bad interview (/about never having frees). Friendships — and generous schedule accommodations from adviser Kathy Neumeyer — convinced me to stay.

They were both big on ultimatums. Track with races, Chron with layouts — sort of make-or-break, give-it-your-all-or-get-out type deals. And there were a few of these where I was surprised either would continue to have me — one early layout where I missed most of it (for running, of course), or almost every cross country meet, where I might as well have missed it — and yet they did. Which allowed the really beautiful moments — the senior year managing team post Monday night layout 11 p.m. Twain’s dinners, or this past weekend when track must have heard the Beyonce we always play and finally put a ring on it.

So would having devoted myself to just the track team or just the managing one mean that I could now keep it a bit longer? Nope, because high school is finite (thank God/your preferred religious icon, right?), and that is where this prolonged and already overstretched analogy promptly snaps. But would I have done it any other way? Also nope — of course not.