A superintendent's day can get busy. It can feel like any number of issues are chasing you or trying to run you down. Today I had literally more than 250 challenges behind me and it felt pretty good. It was the inaugural run of our elementary cross country season and, as I have for the past several seasons, I got to be the rabbit leading the fields of the the three event through the course. Admittedly I have a bit of an advantage riding as I do on my mountain bike, but its still a bit intimidating hearing the starter call go and hearing the thunder of hundreds of little feet charging on to the trail behind you.
I have the privilege of ferrying the leaders through the courses but I also get to circle back and make sure everyone finishes. As a student once told me, "For the leaders you're the rabbit, but for us at the back, you're the dragon!" I was taken a little a back by this fearsome description until I realized what she was saying was that I was the person who had to "drag in" the back of the packers.
Cross country is really a great participation sport. It allows the fast runners the competition of racing against their peers and the clock, but it also allows other students to challenge themselves against a distance. I have experienced tremendous spirit and enthusiasm at both ends of a race. Each year those at the front seem to push me a little harder to stay in front, as I clear a path for them to a finish line, but its often the conversations I have with those runners at the back of the pack that provide the greatest humor and inspiration.