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Joining a sports team by Lilly M.

Lilly (in yellow shirt) with cross country teammates at Quesnel Zone Championships.

Before I came to Canada, I knew I wanted to try Cross Country Running in High School in Canada, because in Germany, we don’t have that sport. So in the first week of school, I signed up for the Cross Country Team, and in the week after we had our first practice. And I have to say it was really hard. I thought I was a good runner, but everyone in the team was way better than me and I thought about quitting after the first few practices. But then I told myself to do it, because I didn’t want to give up so easily.

Today I’m really glad I didn’t give up, because running in the Cross Country Team gave me a lot of opportunities and experience. I’ve also made friends in the team.

We had practice three times a week. Mondays we ran hills, Tuesdays short distance and Thursdays long distance. I made friends with two girls my age which was very nice for me. After two weeks of practice, we had our first race in Prince George, but unfortunately, I got a strain in my leg a couple days before, so I decided not to race on that day. But I went to Prince George with the team anyways, to see how a race works and to cheer my team on. That was nice to see.

The week after, we had the second race in a different location in Prince George and this time I was also running. Because I’m a senior, I had to run three laps which was 5.3 km. I expected myself to be last, but I got 7th out of 11 senior girls. I was pretty proud of that. The race was a lot fun and a nice experience. I especially enjoyed that my team had the loudest cheer, and that a lot of people, even from other teams, cheered me on. I haven’t experienced something like that in Germany before.

After that race, I had another race in Vanderhoof, which was my favorite one, because I liked the course most.

Sometimes practice was hard, because we had to run a lot and the weather was not really great. It rained a lot and we still had to run outside. Also the temperature dropped and the coldest we had for practice war around 0 degrees and it was snowing that day. But it always felt good after the practice to have worked out. And it was fun to run with the team.

And in the end of October, we went to Quesnel overnight for the Zone Championship. That was an amazing trip because I got to know everyone in the team. Before that trip I only knew part of them (and we are a small team with only about 15 runners). In Quesnel we had a fun time before the race which I really enjoyed.

The race itself was way bigger than the races before, because there were a lot more runners. Different age groups ran at different times, so us senior girls had the chance to cheer the other runners in the team on when they were running. Around noon was finally our race. Because there were more girls, it was harder to pass people and there was always someone just behind or in front of me. That made me push harder and I had my very best race on that day. I got 11th out of 18 girls and passed a girl that was always faster than me in the races before.

The Zone Championship was all about getting qualified for provincials. We were hoping to be the best Senior Girls Team, but unfortunately, we had the same number of points as another team. In the end they decided who would go to provincials after one criterion and so my team didn’t make it. That was pretty sad, but we were still happy with our results.

I was very happy that I had the chance to go on that trip, because we had a fun time and I’ve made some friends. But I was also sad that the Cross Country season would be over for me at that point. Because it just started to make the most fun now that I got to know the whole team.

I can advise every exchange student to join a sports club during their exchange year. It is a great opportunity to make friends and it is a lot of fun.

Photo and blog submitted by Lilly, a sixteen-year-old student from Germany currently attending Nechako Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof, BC. 

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