Resiliency In All

Air+Academy+Varsity+Cross+Country+boys+after+demolishing+a+meal+at+IHOP+right+after+the+CHSAA+regional+race+in+Denver.+Left+to+right%3A+freshman+Nate+Lumaye%2C+senior+Ben+Hodge%2C+senior+Alex+Maline%2C+senior+Drew+Braden%2C+senior+Sean+O%27Neil+%28not+on+the+cross+country+team%29+and+senior+Ben+Lumaye.

Air Academy Varsity Cross Country boys after demolishing a meal at IHOP right after the CHSAA regional race in Denver. Left to right: freshman Nate Lumaye, senior Ben Hodge, senior Alex Maline, senior Drew Braden, senior Sean O’Neil (not on the cross country team) and senior Ben Lumaye.

On a Saturday morning in mid-October, I had just finished my long run.

I had gone home and began my post-Saturday practice ritual. I slam a pint of chocolate milk with protein powder, make my three-egg omelet with hot salsa on top, and put my pot of coffee on to brew my Boyer’s Medium Roast Kona Blend. I wasn’t excited about having to do ACT practice problems on top of homework, but I know how badly I wanted financial aid. The “SHOW ME THE MONEY” scene ran through my head and I chuckled to myself as I poured a cup of scalding coffee. When I took a look at my email as my coffee steamed away in front of me, I soon began to steam too.

After weeks of patiently waiting and doing practice problems, I was feeling fairly confident about my ACT test. I checked my email and saw buried in the endless junk emails that my ACT’s test location had canceled on me. 

My stomach dropped through the floor and then my core heated up. I solemnly turned my phone over. I clenched my jaw, furrowed my brow, and clenched my fists, digging into the palms of my hands. I felt the internal tension rising at a rapid rate. Of course, being the third time that my efforts to score high enough to improve my future financial heartache had been thwarted, I realized anger was futile. I took a passive-aggressive swig of my coffee and got on with my day.

Air Academy Boys Varsity Cross Country Team at a postseason get together. Left to right, sophomore Isaac Buttery, freshman Nate Lumaye, senior Drew Braden, junior Stephen Varnier, senior Alex Maline, senior Ben Lumaye.

Moments like these have probably come all too often this year. Pretty consistent let downs, big blows, followed by more and more.

So far all year has been everything canceled, or if anything that was supposed to have happened in 2020 does get to happen, quite frankly it’s a letdown–but nobody usually says that last part.

Not often do you hear people admitting that.

Most of us were taught at a young age that we always need to be grateful for what we have. To not raise a fuss especially if it’s really not in one’s own hands.

Most everyone is trying their best to carry on, and usually, we give each other grace. We appreciate what other people do to still make things happen, like fall sports.

This year has rag-dolled us and taken things right out of our grasp. We all know this, we all have accepted it. For the most part, we won’t even mention it. We shrug it off and keep moving on. 

By we, I mean all people but specifically the students who are trying to enjoy their senior year and those who are trying to get into college.

Now, not every student has had their standardized test canceled, or their sport changed. Some seem to be unaffected; or is that simply just the impression that they want you to have? 

College recruiting is basically off the table for people. However, there are still people committing to schools, especially the D1 schools who haven’t had a season and aren’t able to meet athletes in person or offer official visits.

Some schools, for example, Colorado School of Mines, (their cross country team) basically swept the RMAC DII regional championships, but their school wouldn’t let them go down to Nationals in Texas.

Colorado School of Mines is fast enough to be a heavy hitter in the D1 division, and the RMAC DII region is already a very very fast DII conference.

A friend of mine who runs cross country for Colorado Mesa University would have gotten to go to DII nationals in Texas, but the people in the dorm next door that share the suite bathroom with him and his roommate tested positive for COVID-19. He was not allowed to go because of that.

I know people personally who go to those schools and are on those cross country teams and I know that those must have been massive blows. Even in talking to them about it, you would hardly know. They didn’t show it or even dwell on it, at least outwardly. That shows strength. Keeping mentality either positive or just keeping a defensive stance against whatever is thrown at one’s self is a good attribute.

This group of seniors and young adults will be no strangers to dealing with changes, let downs, and opportunities vanishing right before our eyes. This will equip us to have a strong sense of perseverance through anything.

We have learned to just put our nose to the grindstone, or we won’t even have a chance at doing or getting what we are striving for. There is no place for complacency, things especially this year, can come and go in an instant. We have to jump on an opportunity when we see it.

In all actuality, things could be worse. Not everything has been dramatically uprooted. That is not at all the message I wish to convey. Not all this year has been bad. I am simply saying the upcoming young adults in this world are going to be resilient.

We will bounce back from big changes like quarantines and disappearing opportunities. We are learning that in an environment where almost everything is subject to change at any given moment, we need to be vigilant about anything and everything. We are learning from school that especially now more than ever, we are accountable for ourselves. We can weasel our way in and out of things for only so long.

What we are living through right now may not be as dramatic as a state of war, or as extreme as past pandemics, but is just extreme enough to change us without damaging us. We are adapting and are going to benefit positively from this less than ideal time. I see good things in the future from these changes.