Folks call me the dark horse. The underdog. I’ve even been called a has-been. I get it. I’m 238 years old in dog years, and some folks find it hard to believe that I’m still kicking. It’s kinda funny, and in this business, you have to know the difference between the battles you fight and those you don’t. When it comes to my age, I just don’t bother. I mean, it is what it is, right?
But there’s still a lot of noise in the channel. Other stuff that I feel, in my mind, just shouldn’t happen.
Like, this year I opened up with the fastest time I’ve ever run in my career. I had the world leading time in the 100. And, I actually had the privilege to hold onto it for three weeks – until this guy named Yohan Blake ran 9.90, LOL. Things change fast in track and field, hahaha!
Anyway, when I found out that I wasn’t confirmed for KU Relays (a meet that I’ve competed at for the past two years), it caught me off guard. I kinda scratched my head, but I was like, whatever. Let’s see what pans out. I got in, and it was all good. But then, after the technical meeting, I found out that I got put in what was the equivalent of lane one…I was really scratching my head.
I mean, can I be honest with yall? I was like, really? Did that just happen?
In the 100m, lane assignments are more of a respect thing than anything else, and I guess I was feeling kinda disrespected. I know some of you won’t get it. It’s dumb. I know. Hindsight is 20/20, and I’m just being honest. But at the time, I was like, dude this is just a COLLEGE relay meet – not a Diamond League competition. But that’s where I was wrong. And I knew it immediately.
No. It wasn’t just a college relay meet.
The KU Relays have been a staple in Kansas for 85 years. They welcomed several hometown heroes, alumni, and KU legends onto the track, and they saw fit to invite me. Talk about snapping to it.
What’s the point?
Every opportunity you get to compete is just that – an opportunity. No one owes you anything. You earn everything. And when you start to expect privileges and special outcomes, you’ll get leveled real fast.
The reality is, you can give your best today and commit to doing better tomorrow – and you CAN do better – but there’s always going to be something that will pop up and try to take you off kilter. You’ve gotta recognize those things – call a spade a spade – and trump it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running from lane one or coming from the pit. As long as you’re spiked up, healthy, and ready to go – you take advantage of every opportunity you have to do what you love.
I’m grateful for having the opportunity to compete at KU Relays – and I guess the third time is a charm. I got my first “W” there – even though it felt like I was running into a wind tunnel – I walked off the track healthy, had a great time chopping it up with the fans, and I couldn’t have asked for better weather.
The whole experience just reminded me of a blog I wrote a while back called stay in your lane. And, staying in your lane – whether that’s lane one, five, or eight – is not an option. It is a requirement – especially in an Olympic year. And, after all these years in the sport, and all my experience – I’m not ashamed to admit that I stepped out of my lane for a second. I’m just glad that I’ve got the guts to not allow stuff like that to take me out. It’s going to be a long season, and I’m in it to win it. You better believe I’m staying stuck between these lines.