The time had finally come, my first track practice at the Hempfield Senior High School as a 9th grader. At that time, Senior High was 10th thru 12th grade. The High School Sprint coach would pick me up from the Junior High during 6th period study hall and drive me to practice with the high school Spartans. Coach Wilson saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself but I felt I was up for the challenge. I was honored yet so nervous and anxious to the point that I could hear my heart beating. With shallow breaths I tried to calm myself down as I wiped my perspiring palms on my sweatpants. Coach Wilson spoke to me as he drove but the thunderous beating of my heart drowned out his words.
When we arrived, the runners had already started warming up. As I laid back on the cold track in a hurdlers stretch I admired the clear blue sky. “God, I can do this”, I said to myself. “To the 200 marker,” yelled the coach. “Hi,” I said timidly to the upper classmen as we lined up in groups of 3 and 4. Wow, I can’t believe I’m amongst, several WPIAL and PIAA finalists and champions. On your mark, get set and the whistle blew. Off they went. With the running form of gazelles, the seniors had such long flowing strides. I really had something to prove now. “Next group line up. On your mark, get set…” The whistle blew. I was off running with all my might. As I turned the corner to the 100 straight away…I can’t believe it, I’m ahead. One, Two, Three times I came in first, but as the drills progressed I started to loose steam. By the final run of the day my head was bobbing, my arms pumped erratically, and let’s not talk about my stride. I could hear the coach yelling my name…”Pick it up…Don’t give up now…You’re almost there…run through the finish line!”
I had no endurance. Unlike the upper classmen who had been doing this for years and had been training for about a month, I lacked the slightest bit of conditioning and experience. I loved competing but disliked practicing and preparing for the meets. One of my most vivid memory was early Saturday morning practices. We knew it was going to be a tough practice when Coach Wilson would begin to sing at the top of his voice, “What a beautiful morning, think I’ll go outside for a while...” (Not until years later did I find that his bellowing was a real song by the Rascals. I thought that was just a song to warn us that we were not going to be able to feel our legs by the end of practice) Moans and groans could be heard as we headed to the field. I must say the toughest part of the strict preparation was the repetition of the drills and pain that comes with pushing yourself. Yet, without proper preparation and constant repetition endurance could not be attained. My greatest reward was crossing that finish line at a meet and looking up into the stand to see my father standing there with pride. I determined that if I didn’t come through for myself, I was determined to come through for him.
1 Corinthians 9:24, 25 says Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (NIV)
So as we have welcomed in 2008, lets get on the mark, get set and go! Let’s run the race that God has set before us. And run beyond the finish line. Though we may get tired, be encouraged to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14 KJV) Whatever your God given dreams, know that there is an eternal crown waiting for those who run the race in such a way as to get the prize.
As I run this race in 2008, my hope and prayer is to continue to be a vessel and share words of encouragement that bless and inspire not only the reader but also the listener. And that my lifestyle of worship would create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit would reside.
We are aiming for a Saturday, July 26, 2008 CD release date. Please continue to keep this in your prayers. For I know the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16 KJV) My hope and prayer is that this ministry touches not only the local community but encourages and edifies the body of Christ around the world. The upcoming CD project is one that will elevate the listener to a high level of faith and trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; with such song titles as All My Trust, You Remind Me, Like a Tree, Inside Your World and more. I believe the hope of touching the world can be made a reality instead of a possibility. Please visit my official website at www.danafields.com and sign my guestbook so that I can keep in touch.