William Bennett - Grade 9, Centerville High School
One Step at a Time
One of my worst memories as a middle school student was when I almost missed the bus. It was the time of year where jackets became coats; but not late enough that the Halloween candy from the plastic pumpkin in the cabinet was too stale. It was this Halloween candy I was indulging in that November morning, my parents were gone, thusly the rationing rule they pushed on me and my siblings was currently unenforceable. In my sleepy, hungry, and childish mind I decided the best way to get revenge for said rule would be to eat as much as I wanted while they were not present. Considering the possible drawbacks, both caloric and parental in nature, was an impossibility. Grinning, I reached up to the upper shelf and pulled down my prize. After a couple minutes, and a couple Snickers bars, I dug my iPod out of my pocket. 8:20. Any normal morning I would be on the bus. I quickly snagged my lunch and ran full-tilt out the front door, holding my book bag on one shoulder, with the remains of an Almond Joy clenched in my fist. I don’t even like coconut.
The hill outside my house is roughly 100 feet long, so not of a considerable distance by anyone’s standards, but on that day it felt like a million miles long. By the time I made it to the top, I was wheezing and having a hard time standing up. It was then I had an epiphany: I was severely out of shape. That was roughly two years ago, and since then diet changes have become apparent in my life, my Xbox sits in the basement gathering dust, and running cross country has filled the spot Minecraft once occupied. I weigh roughly 20 pounds less than I did as a 7th grader.
Originally, I didn’t consider what getting healthy meant; but now the benefits are starting to show. Cross Country introduced me to so many friends of mine I can’t even describe how thankful I am. Running hasn’t just improved my social life either- I am able to listen and sit still more then what was ever possible in the past. I used to get in trouble all the time for forgetting or not completing work, but now sitting down and FOCUSING is entirely possible.
A friend of mine pointed out the irony in my situation. Many people consider running away from one’s problems a bad thing, but that is exactly the solution to my problem. My incredibly complex, multi-step, plan to make it through high school unscathed is to make sure I’m just as healthy physically as I am mentally.