Track and field, the epitome of systematic sports. Every person in the team has to perform to their fullest potential in order to be successful. No one is undermined here: Jumpers reach high to the sky or far to the pit battling for that number one spot. Runners speed to the finish line in hopes to surpass fellow athletes. Throwers cry out in order to get that diminutive force transferred into inches – everyone receives the same amount of respect, the same amount of preparation, and even the same amount of recognition – Everyone, that is, except the hurdlers.

Neither a jumper nor a runner, hurdlers are in a classification of their own. True, it is a running event. But as our critics would say, when did running involve metallic object concurrently in one’s path? Jumpers will say we kick, not jump. Runners will say we hop, not run. What we feverishly practice for, over, and over again, hoping to get that trail leg down faster, or snapping the lead leg quicker, and learning at the right moment to make sure we are as a aerodynamic as possible. Quickly forgotten by our teammates, or friends, and even sometimes our coaches (unless for the vociferous yelp that we hear after one of us is stricken down by the regal hurdle we sometimes call “friend”).

Although we are forgotten during practice, we still get the same respect during meets – Or do we? We never get enough time to warm up. We always get scorned by some judge for having hurdles out. We are seen as nuisances who need “unnecessary equipment.” Though we may have the most bystanders at our side, do not be fooled; it is not lucky they wish us, but rather mislead failure. The life of a hurdler is quite sad indeed.

However fear not; besides for engaging in the second most dangerous event in track and field (nothing is more intimidating than pole vaulting) generally, we are the most versatile athlete on that track. No hurdler is just a hurdler. All hurdlers know how to jump (exceptionally well if I say so myself) in another event, run to the point of excellence, and even sometimes throw incredibly far. Frequently, I have seen one of my fellow hurdlers stand on that podium and receive a ribbon for first place in another event, my eyes water due to the mere appreciation I have for them. Even though they are not given the full credit they deserve by their school, they still manage to get passed that and excel in what they do. To that I applaud. To that I admire.

So next time you happen to pass by the track of your school around 5 p.m., divert your eyes from the sunset to the corner of the tracks; there you will see a person – there you will see someone from your school that is vehemently soaring over some metallic object – there you will see a hurdler. Go down and thank them for representing your school so well. Thank them for being a hurdler.

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