Cross Country

My brothers are a part of the local homeschool Cross Country team.  We don’t talk about the team much on our blog, but I had to brag about my brothers for a little bit.

The Home School Union Tommies Varsity Boys (including Colter, Emery, and Fletcher) just won the title of National Christian Homeschool Cross Country Champions!

This meet was really fun, for me, because it was the first overnight meet that I’d been to.  It was also the farthest overnight meet yet.  It was in Springfield, Missouri, which meant we had an eight hour car trip – each way.

The team rode in two cars – our Beast, and Coach’s fifteen passenger van.  Coach decreed that the boys team and girls team were riding separately, so I was in the fifteen passenger van with the other girls, and the boys were in the Beast.

The boys ate, sang, played Risk* and Monopoly*, tried to do schoolwork (unsuccessfully), ate some more, listened to music, slept, ate even more, watched George of the Jungle*, and kept texting me pictures of them sleeping with my pillow, which I’d accidentally left in the Beast.

The girls ate candy (we had a big bag of it), sang, swapped phones/iPods and listened to each other’s music, watched Les Miserables* and cried, tried to sleep, endured the pillow fight going on in the back seat, and stole back my pillow at a rest stop, so we could text the boys pictures of us sleeping with it.

The morning of the race was bright and cold – it was maybe 30 something degrees.  Maybe.  Everyone wore as many layers as they could, and hats, gloves, and scarves, were everywhere.

When it was time for the race, the boys prayed with Coach, like they always do.  They pray for a good race, for everyone to do the best that he can do, and that God would bless their efforts.

The race was fast and everyone ran well.  It was looking good for our team as the boys came across the finish line with burning legs and freezing fingers.

After running, they quickly put on their sweatshirts and pants, trying to keep warm.  They had the preliminary results up, and the team was pretty sure that they had won, but the last time we came to this meet there was some trouble with the scoring, so no one was counting on anything.

Before the awards ceremony, Michael, one of the boys on the team, called all of them together.  “I want to pray again,” he told them, so they gathered in their huddle.

Michael thanked God for letting them do so well, and he thanked God for giving him such a great team.  “They have been such a great influence on my life,” he said, and I could see all of the boys nodding their heads in agreement.  This group of kids has such a special bond – I don’t even know how to explain it.  All I can tell you is that this team is a team, through and through, and this team has something special.

The team played Frisbee* while we waited for the Elementary kid races to finish so we could have the awards ceremony.  The Frisbee was dropped more than normal, and eventually they gave up on trying to distract themselves.  We gathered in small groups, talking and joking around, trying to distract ourselves from the thought that this was the last meet, and that we didn’t know if we would win.

Finally, the announcer said that it was time for the awards, and the team started pulling off all of their sweatshirts.  While the other teams were leaving theirs on, they wanted to look like a team when they took their pictures, as (they hoped) the National Christian Homeschool Cross Country Champions.

Elementary kids awards were first, then Junior Varsity.  Greyden, as our only Junior Varsity boy at Nationals, won sixth place in his race.  When they told the kids to line up to take the picture, the announcer said, “everyone squish around the little guy,” because everyone else in the Junior Varsity race was well over two heads taller than him.  Our team burst into laughter, and Greyden stared back at us sheepishly.  The other Junior Varsity boys were staring at this kid, half their size, who managed to get sixth place.

Then the Girls Varsity was announced.  One of our girls got eighth, but only the first place team was announced, so we don’t know how the girls team placed as a whole.

At the very end of the awards ceremony, they announced the Boys Varsity.  Colter placed tenth in his race, following his teammates Michael in first, Sam in second, and Nathan in fifth.  Max was eleventh, and Fletcher and Emery were twentieth and twenty-first.

With the way Cross Country is scored, each runner’s place is their score.  The team with the lowest score for their first five runners is the winner.  Because our team’s score was twenty-nine, lower than any of the other teams, we won!

There was so much celebrating.  After the boys went up to get their medals and take a few pictures, they came back and one by one, gave Coach a hug.

Because this was the last meet of the year, I had the kids take a team picture with Coach.  Coach complains every time I tell him I want him in the team picture, but in the end, all of the kids are glad to have a picture with him.

The Tommies had a great season.  We had a group of amazing kids, who gave it everything they could, and the end result was a team that loves each other, has a great time with each other, and takes care of each other.  This meet was bittersweet, because it was the last meet of the year, and no one wants it to end.  But we know that the majority of the kids will be back next year, and we’re all planning on getting together at least once or twice before the season starts next summer.

If you live in the Kentuckiana area, homeschool, and are interested in learning more about the team, let me know.  We have kids from as far as Shelbyville, Kentucky, come up to New Albany and Clarksville, Indiana for practices, and our meets are all over the place.  Everyone on the team agrees with me – this team has something special.  We’re always looking for new kids to join us!




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