The Grands

Diane Makovic, Co-Editor In Chief

On the morning of Sept. 7, I woke up at 5:30 to get ready for the LT Invite. It was the first meet of the cross country season, and I was feeling really nervous for the race. Once I got to LT, my teammates and I sat in the team area listening to hype-up music to get ready. After a little while, I went through the warmup and jogged to the line with my teammates. The gun went off and the race started. 

About halfway through the race, Maddie Ohm ‘21 and I turned into the baseball fields for the second time. This is about the time where the race starts to get really hard, but it’s also the time where we have to start moving up and pushing harder. It’s a mental challenge as much as a physical one. Right when I really wanted to slow down, all of a sudden, I saw Kate Ferrell ‘21 running across the baseball fields screaming “THE GRANDS DO IT FOR THE GRANDS.” 

That phrase, while it might not make a ton of sense to most people, is what helped get me through that race. By “the grands,” Kate means the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. She had been talking about them all week long and was using them as motivation to get through the race. 

Sometimes going into stressful situations (races or in school), it can be easy to get wrapped up in the anxiety and forget why you are doing it. Having funny sayings or moments with teammates enables you to relax more and alleviates some of the stress from the situation, allowing you to concentrate and perform your best. Running can seem like a very individual sport at times, but you and your teammates are all working together to beat other teams. Inside jokes and team bonding experiences have really helped make the girls in my training group close. 

My group in cross country goes to the health room once a week to set goals for our upcoming races and discuss tips to improve the mental aspect of running. One thing we talk about is on-task thinking, or staying in the moment. This can be a very difficult thing to do during a stressful situation because your brain wanders a lot when you’re anxious. One of the tactics we use to stay “on-task” and bring our minds back to the present is focusing on a mantra. These short sayings are very individual to everyone, but using inside jokes or funny moments from practice has been a good tool for me. Hearing cheers like “THE GRANDS” from a teammate helps me to focus and remember why I am racing. Humor brings people together which is important when creating a close team environment. 

Motivation doesn’t have to come from a long speech or celebrity. You can find motivation in small, seemingly unimportant moments and phrases. Screaming “grands” across a field doesn’t mean anything to any other team or most people out there, but its underlying meaning was very motivating for me during that race.