Wise Words From A Former Trackster

Jet Paz, a former Blue Tracksters captain, posted a poignant comment on one of my posts a few weeks back. Way back in 2001, I was a high school junior during Jet’s fifth and final year with the men’s UAAP squad. I remember sitting at one of the high school stone benches with Jet and some of my former teammates. Jet was recounting his experiences as a junior to us young guns. It was the final day of the UAAP and we were slated to run the grueling 4x400m relay. Since most of us were rookies, we were naturally nervous.

I can hardly remember the nuances of my rookie year. After all, eleven long years have passed since December 2001. And yet, Jet’s words have remained vividly ingrained in my mind all thoroughout.

Ibigay niyo na lahat [give it your all],” said Jet, himself an experienced quarter miler and middle distance runner. “Ubusin niyo na lakas niyo hangga’t hindi na kayo makalakad. Sasaluhin naman kayo ng mga teammates niyo sa finish line. May tagabuhat naman! [Dig deep until the limits of your strength. Your teammates will be there for you at the finish line. They’ll carry you, if you’re unable to walk!]”

Jet’s mantra has stuck with me ever since, especially in the face of the most taxing track events such as the 4x400m relay. During our lung-busting speed endurance workouts, my notoriously crazy “death wish” pace was culled from Jet’s approach. In each and every relay event that I joined, sublte recollections of that quiet December day strengthened my resolve. Fortunately for us relay runners, my teammates were just as supportive as Jet’s, patiently waiting at the finish line with a helping hand (sometimes, literally) and a much-needed bottle of Gatorade.

This mantra transcended the bounds of the 400m track to the basketball court too, in light of my recent forays to the hoops game.

The following line from his comment struck me the most: “At the end of the day, there’s a smile on my face when I think of all the people I have gotten to know and befriended from track. I must say that the memories that track has given me would never grow old.”

True enough, one never stays young forever. An athlete’s sporting days are finite. Giving it your all – for yourself, your teammates, your school, your family, your country and for the One above – makes the struggle worthwhile. Leaving everything on the track is the only way to be certain that the ghosts of regret won’t haunt oneself in the future.


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