Friday, May 26, 2023

A week of endings

Libby with her coach, Todd Ruland.

This is a week of endings.

My daughter Libby ran her last race yesterday. She finished her high school track career at the Div. 5 state championship at Norwell High, placing 19th in the 2-mile.

It was her best time of the year by seven seconds. But she had to grind to get it.

You won’t see her name in the box score—top eight place at the state and get points—but I’ll take a top 20 finish. Because I know how far she has come to make it to the finish line.

When Libby was younger she was not in terrific athletic shape. She hated running, even though she loved soccer. She’d be the first to admit that. But during the COVID lockdowns something clicked. She was bored and started running on our treadmill in the basement. And transformed herself, and decided to go out for the cross country team.

Wild. This stuff happens with kids sometimes. You can’t predict it.

She became a three-sport captain and earned nine varsity letters, and a Cape Ann League all-star.

She did it with an amazing group of teammates, but she also did it by finding strength within.

Track and in particular long-distance running is a lonely sport.

In softball you cross home plate and your teammates are there to embrace you. Likewise in football when you get the touchdown, others are blocking for you. In track, you’re running alone.

Yesterday only a few of her teammates qualified for the states and there was no one waiting at the end of her last finish line. Except her dad, and her coach. She cried, I hugged her and told her damned proud I was of her.

I know great things will await Libby, because she has a terrific will, an incredible work ethic, and is kind and cares about people. I’ll take those over raw ability any day.

This was a week of endings.

Soon there will be a week of beginnings. She goes off to college in the fall. My wife and I will be empty-nesters, and life will change.

But first there is the high school prom tonight, and senior celebrations. I hope she enjoys every minute of the fun, because she earned it.

Happy graduation kid. Here’s to endings and beginnings.