Watching From the Sidelines

It is difficult to know how much you love something before it is actually gone. Rio Matsumoto is an ABF sophomore and a Bergen Tech Cross Country runner who has been injured for the entire season.  As the end of summer approached and practices were about to begin, she pushed herself to train harder than ever before. However, she ended up running herself into the ground.  Her motivation? Fear.

“I was scared that I would lose my varsity letter: that obviously didn’t work out too well,”  said Rio. Looking back today, she regrets pushing herself to the extreme and realizes it was not her best decision. Overuse of her legs led to a stress fracture, and now she regrets not taking time to rest.

For most, running miles and miles is not the definition of fun. But Rio saw how “running brought people together as a team.” Yet, she admits there were some aspects she did not enjoy.  She admits, “I used to talk about hating workouts and races.”

But now, when all that she can do for the team is hand out tags at meets, not being allowed to participate in competition has completely altered her perspective. She misses “running, and especially being able to run properly” as well as the teammates that motivated her. All of these little things she says she didn’t take the time to appreciate before.

Of course, Rio continues to be a good sport. She has never missed a practice,, spends time in the gym, setting new goals for herself, hoping to improve for next season. She is extremely proud of her teammates, but sad that she can not run with them. Sports can be extremely demanding both physically and mentally which can make some forget why they participate in the first place. People like Rio remind us that playing a simple sport can mean so much more when the ability to play is taken away.