Dear Junior Track Season,
As I am writing this I should be lacing up my spikes, laughing with my teammates, listening to my coaches, and competing at one of my top favorite meets, the Nix Relays. Instead, I am sitting at home, doing eLearning, and deleting all of our meets from my calendar.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak there was a glimmer of hope. I had my fingers crossed and thought for sure that you would resume as soon as we returned. That is, until the news broke there would be no return.
I was, and still am, upset about missing out on your season of limitless opportunities for sure. But more than anything, my heart hurts more than my desire to compete. I think about the seniors. Not just your track seniors, but every senior who plays a spring sport.
The feelings I have experienced as I missed out on you (one of my favorite seasons) couldn't possibly compare to what each and every senior athlete, or the senior class as a whole is feeling.
As a Junior, it’s very bittersweet. I mean why should I be upset? I have another season, right? I shouldn’t be selfish. In retrospect, that’s so very true. I am BEYOND fortunate to have another opportunity to compete and another chance to do what I love next spring.
But on the other hand, it’s still a season that I will never get back. Another chance to set new PRs and smash old ones. Another chance to run faster and get stronger. Another chance to further relationships with my teammates and coaches.
It’s no secret that this upsets me tremendously, however, it has certainly taught me that I should never take anything for granted. I am thankful for each and every senior. My heart goes out to y’all during these times. I cannot imagine what you are all feeling. I am thankful for my ability to run, my hardworking coaches and my dedicated teammates. I am thankful for the doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals for their selfless commitment and diligence in fighting the Coronavirus and to protect society worldwide.
Although there are never any guarantees, and we cannot predict the future, I am thankful that I get another chance. Another chance to come out next spring and do what I love (fingers crossed).
There is unfinished business. I hope the story does not end here.
See you next spring,
7 a.m. - Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for school
8:15 a.m. - School starts
3:25 p.m. - School ends
4 p.m. - Track Practice
6 p.m. - Practice ends
6:30 p.m. - Drive home, eat dinner
7:30 p.m. - Volleyball Practice
9:30 p.m. - Practice ends
9:40 p.m. - Arrive home
9:50 p.m. - Shower and start homework
11:30 p.m. - Finish homework and get ready for bed
7 a.m. - Wake up, and do it all over again
I have a question. How come nowadays people can’t even manage to find time to breathe, get a solid night's sleep, or just sit back and relax for a bit? Asking for a friend here!
On a real note, life is SO ridiculously busy that even the simplest of necessities seem to get shoved to the side, day in and day out. I can’t remember the last time my sleep schedule hasn’t been out of whack, or I haven’t been attempting to juggle more than one thing at a time. By doing so, I find myself losing the things I should value most.
We, as a society, not only struggle physically and mentally with our overfilled schedules, but emotionally as well. We miss out on those personal relationships, deep conversations, and human interactions that are SO important, yet so undervalued, in today’s society.
But why? Why does it seem as if everyone is always SO busy in today’s world? What happened to simply unwinding and slowing down, without feeling as if you are falling behind? There are so many reasons why we are, the way that we are, but I really do think social media is a key component of the issue. I myself am guilty of getting sucked up into what other people are doing, how others view me, and seeking validation from strangers. But what can we do to break this cycle?
The solution, whether it be simple or spectacular, is being okay with taking a break. Book that flight, watch the sunset, call an old friend, paint your nails, sit outside and listen to the rain. Don’t be afraid to unplug yourself from the world every once and awhile. No posting, no liking, just living. Updating nothing, impressing nobody, just living your authentically original life to the fullest.
Life is so crazy busy, but never get so busy trying to make a living that you lose sight of enjoying your life.
Take a YOU day!
Individuality! It’s such a fun and interesting concept to think about. Literally every single person in existence right now is different, and no two people are the same. Like, HOW cool is that!?
I asked a couple of my closest friends if they could describe me in any word, what words would they choose? Then I took a minute to reflect on myself. Finally, out of the 1,022,000 words that the english language has to offer, I think I found five that suit me pretty darn well!
This one is a friend-picked word! At first I was like, “Ehhh are you guys sure about that one?” But the more I thought about it, I realized they were right. I am often motivated by my emotions, and tend to surround myself with people who make me feel loved. I have an undeniable love for almost everything that I do, and pour my heart into my work always. Passion is energy! It’s such a power that comes from focusing on the things that excite me!
When others talk or think about Emma Duncan, I hope that kindness is a word that they would pair up right next to my name! I strive to love and show empathy for others! I believe that just being a kind human speaks so many volumes. Which is why I pride myself in my efforts to be kind-hearted!
Sports and competing have always been a huge component in my life. I live for that adrenaline rush when I’m waiting for the sound of the gun, crouched in the blocks, heart pounding, ready to lay it all out there for the 400m dash. I absolutely LIVE for that indescribable feeling when I cut a hard line shot, scoring the game point in the third set of a tight volleyball game. Competing brings me SO much joy in life! I definitely would not be the person I am today without it. In fact, just writing about it makes me smile!
Ahh, I love this one! I thrive on traveling to new places, stepping out of my comfort zone, and chasing all the beautiful and exciting things that life has to offer. There are so many things to do, places to see, and such little time to do it all. I am constantly looking for new adventures and finding the excitement in everyday life!
No, I did not just make up this word. It’s a weird one, but hey it’s kinda fun! An exuberant person is “full of joy” and “has a lot of energy to show it.” I had never even heard of this one, but last year my club volleyball coach used this word to describe me. I think he kinda nailed it. I find myself always trying to look on the bright side of life. I am always telling myself not to get caught up in how I think my life should look like, and just learn to find joy in the story that I'm living in. I think exuberant is a swell fit for me!
These words, along with many others, are all a special part of what makes me who I am. I am forever growing as a student, daughter, friend, teammate, sister, and the list goes on. I am so thankful for my uniqueness and sense of individuality. I hope these five words gave you a little taste of what makes Emma, Emma!
Peace out for now!
After the docudrama, Cierstyn and I were interviewed by two local news stations. We spent time with each reporter, answering their questions about the conference and how preventable traffic crashes have impacted us and our community. We were both nervous, but after the interviews we were so glad that we took the opportunity!
Some of my favorite TRACTION moments, aside from the seriousness, had to be when we all got to come together and bonded as a team. TRACTION Olympics, building the giant whale, and Bob’s iconic drum circle are just a few of the activities that helped us come together as a team. It was so nice to get closer with several staff members before the start of the year. Another way we bonded was over some great meals. Yes, the food provided was also quite stellar!
Aside from all of the dance parties, epic team challenges, and heartfelt moments shared at the conference, the best thing was the moment that WE WON THE BUCKLE, AND IT’S GOLDEN! Yes, THE GOLDEN BUCKLE AWARD ON NIGHT ONE WENT TO OUR TEAM! We won it the very first night of TRACTION for all of the hard work that we put in during the day.
Overall, my experience at TRACTION was filled with all sorts of emotions, great food, and the best new staff members/friends. This experience would not have been the same without each and every person who made the conference possible.
Thank you to all of the TRACTION staff, my teammates, and our adviser, MT, for making this 72-hour adventure one of my favorite summer memories!!
Thanks for reading,
We all know that our time in this world is limited. Yet it is always a surprise when the end comes for someone we know and love. The summer heading into my seventh grade year, I unexpectedly lost my grandfather, known to me as Grandad. It wasn’t my first experience saying earthly goodbyes to someone that was close to me. However it was, and still is, the most vivid.
My Grandad was the most goofy, compassionate, and encouraging person I have ever known. I shared MANY laughs, childish ways, dreams, and loving moments with my Grandad. I still carry so many fond memories of him that I would not trade for the world. He taught me lessons about life and never let me go without telling me I was loved every single time he saw me.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with horses. They fascinated me and were the only thing that I would ever talk about. My Grandad liked to fuel this obsession of mine with lots of whacky horse stories. My personal favorite is of Fred, the green-headed horse, who resides at our local Dairy Queen in Washington. Whenever he came to visit, we would make a special trip to DQ in hopes to see Fred and to grab some blizzards. We never saw Fred, but he always ensured me that NEXT time he’d show. I still think about Fred to this day whenever passing a DQ. Goofy moments shared with my Grandpa like this one are what I cherish the most.
I wish he could’ve seen me run in track meets and met my new friends. I wish he could be here so I could tell him all about volleyball and the exciting things that have happened in school. I wish he was still around to watch all of my Blue Jay Journal TV stories and read my blogs. He would’ve been all over those things! But most of all, I long for another laugh and more happy memories with my Grandad.
Mourning can be hard sometimes, but I find Matthew 5:4 as a very comforting verse when it comes to times when I experience grief. It says "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
I love, remember, and thank my Grandad for his part in my journey. He is one of the many people that had I not had in my life, I would not be the person who I am today. I often think of him and am more than stoked for the day when we will meet again.
However, the hardest pill for me to swallow last year was that you can’t please everyone.
I won’t share with you the specific story that really opened my eyes to this, however I know that almost everyone can relate to it in some way. Whether it's a teacher, friend, coach, or even family member, we’ve all had to deal with someone that no matter what we do or how hard we try, still manages to bring us down.
This may sound crazy, but now that I reflect back on that experience, I am actually grateful for that person. Without their constant disbelief, judgement, and accusations, I may not have learned this lesson yet.
“In life you will meet two kinds of people, those who build you up, and those who tear you down. But in the end you’ll thank both.” - Unknown.
It was so difficult for me to come to terms with this because I’m a HUGE people pleaser. I tend to put people’s needs before my own, find it hard to say no, and apologize even when I am not in the wrong. Not only was it very unhealthy for me to constantly worry about what that person thought about me, but it was also stressful to live up to their standards. I had to grasp the concept that people pleasing is the perfect recipe for stress, misery, and frustration. I learned this the hard way!
The bad news is that you cannot make people like, understand, love, accept, or even be nice to you. It’s just reality.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter! Odds are that someone who doesn't accept you as is and sets unrealistic expectations is the one with the problem. The problem isn't you. It is indeed them.
Remember ladies and gents, you can’t please them all and that is okay!
It’s no secret that the stigma surrounding mental health disorders is on the rise. A stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. The shame surrounding mental illness is so powerful, mostly due to the media stereotypes and lack of education, that people tend to attach negative stigmas to mental health conditions. This causes individuals suffering from this to be called names, feel embarrassed, or even to be blamed for their condition, which is completely outrageous!
I believe that ALL people have the right to be treated with humanity and respect. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live in your neighborhood, go to your church, or work in the same building as you.
We live in a society that puts up a front about how we should look, feel, and act. If we don’t fit that “mold,” then we feel like we have failed ourselves or don’t fit in with the rest of society. People are frightened of being portrayed as weak and have a hard time asking for help. This is the main reason why 67% of those individuals choose not to get help, because of the stigma that WE as Americans have placed upon them.
By now you may be asking yourself, “What can I possibly do to help?” The answer is straightforward. Be accepting of others! Yes, it sounds simple. That’s because it is! Just by showing individuals respect, acceptance, and taking the time to listen to them, you will provide helpful support. Having others see you as a person and not as an illness can make a monumental difference for someone who is struggling with their mental health.
If you are suffering, talk to a trusted friend or adult. Know that you are not alone. Remember, ladies and gents, your illness does not define you! Your strength and courage does! Let’s end the stigma.
Junior. Sunset enthusiast. Lovin' life + the creator of it. Excessively overuses the word "swag," and the cowboy emoji. Throw it up to me, I always catch it.