An important part of sports that has been in the sports world for a long time is traditions. Traditions, like Notre Dame’s iconic “Play Like a Champion” sign that they slap before every home game or the Green Bay Packer’s “Lambeau Leap” that they do after they score a touchdown, are examples of long standing traditions for each of these teams. The cross country team here at HR has some traditions of their own that they partake in, on and off the course.
HR cross country is made up of about 75 members, according to Dominic Douglass, boys head coach. Douglass is not only the coach, but he was also a former cross country runner here at Highlands Ranch himself.
When asked about the importance of traditions, he said, “I don’t think you necessarily have to keep traditions going just to keep it going, but I think that it is kind of cool, you know, me running in the system when I was in high school and then seeing some of the same traditions that I didn’t necessarily start, but I help continued it to today, kind of bridges the gap between Highlands Ranch runners now and in the past.”
An example of a long standing tradition is the weekly pasta dinner. This dinner helps the team carb load and bond the night before a meet. Sophomore Charles Wells said, the meal is “always the same: spaghetti, meatballs, bread and dessert. It is a way for cross country kids to hang out and have a good dinner before race day.”
The boys cross country bus has a ritual of playing the song “Du Hast” by Rammstein on the bus before meets. They blast this song and tap along to the beat. This helps pump up the team. This particular tradition has been around since before Douglass was in high school, pre 2007.
It’s not only the boys team that have traditions, the cross country girls team also has some traditions of their own. One of those traditions is Secret Sister, which is similar to the idea of a Secret Santa. Before meets, all of the girls are assigned a “sister”, and they give a small gift to the person they are assigned.
Sophomore, Bryce Johansen said, “I think the Secret Sister is a great way to get close to the team! It feels great to support someone and show them that you care. It is also so motivating before races to get a little gift.” Johansen went on to say that her favorite part about being involved in cross country is “ hanging out with all the other people.”
Cross country can be viewed as an individual sport by the onlooker, as each athlete is running their own race on the course and trying to better their individual time. However, the team bonding and traditions here at HR help bring the individual athletes together to form a strong bond. This creates a team atmosphere where the athletes all encourage and support one another.
Evan Naemura, Staff Reporter