Sam Parsons, a senior at NC State, dropped a note in the Citius Mag email and checked in to see if it would be something that fits the site’s vibe and it totally does. Before he competes at this weekend’s NCAA Championship, Parsons penned a letter to his teammates on the Wolfpack track and field team. While there may be an inside joke here and there, it’s a universal message from a passionate upperclassmen to his younger teammates that can be shared at all levels of the sport. Enjoy.
To the Men of NC State,
I write you all for the final time. I don’t expect for these words to be profound or new – no doubt you have heard me say/rant about this stuff at some point in time. I also don’t expect this to truly capture what you all have meant to me.
With that being said. I wanted to start off by giving you some advice: this sport is hard. Accept it. Embrace it. It will bring you to your best and your worst, over and over again. I have found the best quality one can have in this sport is positive resiliency. No matter what happens if you can find a way to stay positive & resilient for yourself & your teammates, success in some degree will follow. Interpret this however you like but I define it as the ability to continue believing in your yourself, trusting your coaches, having fun, & loving your teammates no matter the circumstances. (did you guys really think I wasn’t gonna slip that in somewhere) Parsons’ Pillars of Success: Trust, Belief, Fun, & Love. ™
I could go on and on about things I’ve learned, messed up, or experienced during my time at NC State that have led me to where I am, but I’m going to refrain. I want all of you to find your own paths. There are no magic words or way of thinking or inspirational quotes that guarantees success. Whatever works for you, works. Just kidding it’s positive resiliency. You’re welcome to whomever is still reading this.. greatness now awaits you.
Alright, last rant. Don’t get lost in the sauce. It’s just running. Don’t think for one minute I’m telling you not to exhaust your talent through preparation (thanks coach) and work your asses off for this university and team. What I’m saying is don’t miss out on those laughs and smiles. College is a dope time. You are allowed to have fun and run at a high level. Do the rights things for running while gaining lifelong memories. A common misconception in this sport is that you can’t do that. Learning your balance and letting loose when you need to is so important. Doing the “wrong thing” might be what actually is best for you at times. I’m not sure where or who I picked up that advice from but I think I may have taken that a little too much to heart at times… cheers anyway. At the end of the day this sport is supposed to bring happiness into your life. Right? Why else would any of us put this kind of stress on our bodies? For a time on a clock? For being All Conference or All American? For some sort of eternal Prefontaine glory? No way.
Use running for an outlet to happiness; don’t let this sport control your happiness.
I think I know why so many people say, “enjoy it.. it’ll be over before you know it.” They say it because at some point they got lost in the sauce for a while before having a wake-up call or taking a step back to just enjoy it all. They go deep in the routine of practice, studying, traveling, and racing. Routine is essential for success in this athletic student life we live. It’s easy for time to move fast when you succumb to your routine. Break out of it time to time. Take a step back and appreciate the goals that once meant so much to you to achieve. Take another step back and appreciate the memories you’ve made so far because of this beautiful sport. The memories of being around you fools everyday, walking down those long steps is what I’m smiling about right now as I write this. Not any time on a clock that was suppose to validate me as a “good” runner or any race I have ever ran.
Guys- you all have made me laugh and smile on my best and worst days. For that I thank you all so much. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you for the memories and all the happiness you brought into my life. All of them are 100% because of you all.
I will always be here for any of you. I hope you know that.
No place I’d rather have been.
You can watch Parsons in the 10,000 meters on Wednesday night. He can be reached on Twitter.