Passion helps in the long run
Local teen finds passion in long distance running
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Finding a passion is hard for anyone, especially for high school students. When it comes to running, junior Jordan Cook found his passion at a young age.
He discovered his love for running in sixth grade, and began competing in cross country in the eighth grade.
“I started competing in cross country because I was starting to get sick of soccer,” said Cook. “I wasn’t really good in team situations, so I tried out cross country because I knew it was more individual, and I found that I was good at it, and I really liked it.”
Other sports weren’t the only reason Cook decided to join the track and cross country teams. He decided to a make the change to gain personal confidence, life experiences, and to decrease stress.
“Personally, running is a very good stress reliever, and it makes me happier than I used to be,” said Cook. “I used to be really down a lot, and ever since I started running, I have felt better about myself.”
For Cook’s teammates, such as freshman Sam Mills, Cook has had a positive influence on the team and younger athletes for years, not just recently.
“When I met him for the first time, I was in sixth grade,” said Mills. “It was my first day of cross country, and he immersed me and the other sixth graders in his love of cross country, and it captivated me that entire season of cross country.”
Cook feels that having fun with his team helps to create a closer and well-bonded team.
“Some of the times we have had fun is on runs,” said Cook. “Sometimes we play games to pass the time, like 20 questions. We can talk or goof around because some days we can do that on easy days.”
On almost every team in sports, there is the team clown or goofball. For senior Trevor Jordan, on the cross country and track teams, that person is Cook.
Jordan views Cook as a potential leader for the team ,in the season ahead, after his graduation because of his dedication and effort.
“I believe that Jordan will be a great team leader,” said Jordan. “He is a great runner, which helps him being able to give advice to the underclassman to make them better.”
While Cook’s teammates view his future to be bright, he hasn’t had the easiest road when it comes to injuries.
“I have really bad asthma, and I get really bad asthma attacks that have affected my running,” said Cook. “I’ve also had a lot of knee issues because runner’s knee is common amongst distance runners. Most recently, I got a tibial stress reaction, which is basically when my tibia was close to fracturing because of overuse, so I spent a lot of time not running, and that was really hard for me.”
Injuries are hard for anyone, including for the player and for their teammates. For Mills, it was hard for him to watch his mentor and role-model go through his most recent injury.
“I was with him [Cook] right after it happened during an indoor meet,” said Mills. “I could see the pain that he was feeling after being prevented from doing what he loves, and I felt really bad for him. I’m glad to have him back for outdoor.”
The defining moment for Jordan was not that Cook got injured, but that the second he realized he couldn’t run, he started working to get back.
“When I first found out that Jordan got injured, it was terrible news to hear,” said Jordan. “Jordan is someone that I really like to run with, especially at meets. However, as soon as he found out that he couldn’t run, he was willing to do anything to get himself back on track.”
Cook found himself pushing himself to get back and to be better then before he was injured.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself because I like working hard and knowing that I am working hard while doing good,” said Cook. “I like to make myself proud, and I have very high standards for myself. It’s how I have always been.”
While Cook’s injuries push him to do better, he had a few words of advice for anyone who will consider joining the distance team in the future.
“I would just say you have to be patient, and make sure that you are ready to work hard because even though people think that is an easy sport [Track & XC], it really isn’t,” said Cook. “Your mind gets exhausted from running, and you really have to try to not give up. It isn’t just physical stamina. It’s mental stamina.
In the end, it comes down to life lessons and the chance for self improvement.
“I look forward to the fact that I get to be with people that I enjoy spending time with,” said Cook. “While getting to push myself, and learn a lot of life lessons, like not to give up on myself while running.”