Inspirational Crossroads is proud to share with you, Jacoby Sanchez inspiring story.
Every Step of the Way
By: Jacoby Sanchez
I would like for everyone to believe that running is easy, but it’s not. I had originally joined the running club in elementary but decided to take a break during middle school. I wanted to focus more on playing football and basketball. When high school came around, everything changed. My dad and I were discussing what sport I was interested in pursuing, and I chose basketball. We agreed that I was fast and this was an effective way to stay in shape. So, I joined cross-country my freshman year. Cross-country is not a very popular sport, and has little support since it begins at the end of the school year. I did very well my first year, I placed 1st at the district meet, which was very exciting for my first-time. I really enjoyed my coach. He was incredibly inspiring and a big promoter of the team concept. It was with him, that we started team prayers before every game. Except we didn’t pray to win, we asked God to keep us safe from injury and most importantly give us the stamina to finish the race.
I don’t think everyone understands the sacrifice and commitment it takes to run, or the discipline it takes just to get up. I wake up at 6 a.m. Mon-Fri., usually when other people my age are sleeping. My entire body aches from pushing myself, and I won’t even start about the blisters. I find I get dehydrated often and sometimes my muscles are so sore that I can barely walk. But when I’m too tired to stand, I remind myself that I am a child of God, and I am made in His image. He sacrificed himself and never gave up on us. God doesn’t quit on me, so I will not quit. I recognize I have a God given talent, this motivates me to give it my all. The only way for me to run is to push myself.
Once the season was over I began basketball again, now I was ready! I took the team ritual that I had with cross-country and incorporated it into my basketball team, we began to pray before each game. Every time one of us would volunteer to say a prayer, it made us feel like Phillipians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” I ended basketball season as one of the leading scorers and earned a top reward.
My sophomore year began and with many prayers and hard work, I made cross-country varsity team. This was a huge accomplishment for me, and to add to it, it was a traveling team. This would look great on my college resume. The first thing I did was thank God for my achievement. My parents taught me to thank God for everything. I have my talents and abilities because of Him. With this in mind, we continued our tradition of prayer before every meet. My best 5K run was at 16:47 PR time. We won district, and made regionals and now there was a good chance of going to state. During the state meet we didn’t finish as strong as expected, and as a result, we didn’t make it. The was a disappointment for all of us including our coach. We worked so hard for this moment. But, even then, I still thanked God. My parents taught me not just to thank God for the good, but also during the trying and difficult times. It wasn’t the easiest prayer to make. At the end of the season I ended up earning New Comer of the Year.
During the summer we received some bad news that our coach, the one that inspired me to run, had decided to leave. I was lost and confused. But I persevered and began my summer runs. By the time my junior year started I was ready for our first meet. I met our new coach and he helped all he could to prepare us for the season. Our first meet I placed 7th, which I didn’t think was so bad. I decided to increase my weekly mileage to improve for future meets. After all, running is my stress reliever. I have medaled at every meet so far with the exception of last week. I had a calf injury and finished with my worst time ever: 18 minutes. Nonetheless, I made it to the finish line! Although, I was very disappointed because my brother had come to see me run. I rested the following week and I am now ready to push ahead with full force. The meets to come are especially important.
A tactic I use when running is to try and catch the person ahead of me. Not pushing too hard but maintaining a rhythm to stay in close proximity to the top runners. Just like in life, sometimes there are obstacles throughout the course making it very difficult. When I can’t breathe or get tired I take a deep breathe and say a prayer, “God, give me strength to finish.” I keep this on repeat, “Don’t quit!”. We have many lessons to learn as well as obstacles to overcome throughout life. The race is never easy, but always rewarding. I do not see myself as a inspiration, but as a work in progress in all aspects of my life.
I believe as teens today, we have many challenges to face daily with social media and the stress to excel in everything. And being a junior in high school means added stress academically. People are constantly asking what we are going to do when it’s over, what college we plan to attend. I use this to reflect and pray, I pray that God will guide and prepare me in everything I do. I have faith that he has a plan for me. I’m working every day to cross the finish line, believing every step of the way that God is by my side. I cannot wait to see what He has planned for me! I will continue to put in the work and always pray to God.
Senior year… here I come!