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Lilly Halvorson: The Press Box

I walk onto my old high school track for a summer workout. I am warming up and find myself looking up at the stadium. There are bleachers and a press box that make up a stadium. 

For the past 5 years, as I completed a workout on the track, I would always envision my coaches, close family members, and teammates in those press box spots. In this press box, they were all judging, analyzing, and evaluating my performance (for some reason I always thought they had  clipboards and stopwatches that made them look professional).

This is what I based my worth on. Did I  impress them? Did I meet their expectations?

At this time, I thought that these people determined my  worth and had all the power. But as I completed my workout today, I looked up at the stadium and had a brand-new perspective. My coaches, close family members, and teammates are all still in the stadium, but they are not in the press box. They are not judging, analyzing, or evaluating me, rather, they are in the bleachers, cheering me on and supporting me. That’s what you are supposed to do in the bleachers, cheer and support the people competing. The people in the bleachers are my support system, the people that have a big smile on their face and are cheering loud when I am running. 

With my support system in the bleachers, there are still people in the press box, but instead the press box is filled with past versions of Lilly. I want to look up and envision these “Lillys” at whatever stadium I am running at. I want to make them proud, instead of everyone else.

Past Lilly: Little Lil (junior in high school) 

  • This version of Little Lil is the same Lilly I am today in the sense that I have the same grit, drive, passion and heart that she had. 

Past Lilly: Little Lil (senior in high school) 

  • This version of Little Lil is reality – how my life truly played out. The Lilly that lost her  senior year of track, she was extremely depressed, and had no idea where life was taking her. She was lonely and she really struggled with being angry at the world. She knew what she had to do, and she put in the necessary work, but she never got the opportunity to show it off. 

  • This is the version of Little Lil who got her senior track season. What a ride! She put in so much work over the summer after her junior track season. Unlike reality, this Lilly got the opportunity to show off the work she put in. She went on to break her personal record and kept lowering the school record little bit by little bit in the way that Lilly did. She also graduated normally, she did summer training like normal and went on to be an Eagle at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, and her first year running collegiately was completely normal. This is the Lilly I have dreamt about for the past 4 years. 

  • The most powerful version of Little Lil is the one who got her senior track season, who did everything exactly right. But her senior track season did not go how she dreamt. She was still great. She was a great captain, team player, teammate, mentor to the younger athletes, and always had a positive sense of energy and kind heart. So, same Lilly, but she didn’t go on to break her record again. Her school record still stood when she graduated, however, this Lilly didn’t have the baggage of heavy  emotions the COVID-19 pandemic brought. Breaking my record wasn’t the point. I am a firm believer in putting in work and achieving what you want to achieve. There will be hardship, barriers, and obstacles (the pandemic showed us this) but through adversity comes growth, strength, and resilience. This Lilly  has a big seat in my press box. 

Future Lilly 

  • This version of Lilly is excited for me because she knows what I am capable of, and she has lived it. I don’t know what that is yet, but she does, and she gets to enjoy the show. There is not much to her besides the fact that she is done with college running, she is done competing, and she is done training collegiately. Future Lilly is just excited to watch me experience the sport that I love. 

For so long I’ve envisioned people up in the press box having control over me, having the power, and  determining my self-worth. In these past 5 years I have grown as an athlete and woman. I have realized  that this is my sport, and I am doing it because I love it. I’m the one on the track, I’m the one putting in the physical and mental work day-in and day-out. So, shouldn’t it be me in the press box? 

Who makes up your stadium? Who’s in your press box? Who’s in your bleachers? Who are the people  cheering you on and supporting you as you compete in your sport? Those are the people you want to  look up at the stadium and envision.

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