Valedictory Address To The Track And Field Class Of 2020

 This may not be what you want to hear, but what I want to say to you is one word: Congratulations!

Now you graduate.. virtually and/or eventually, surviving hopefully a one-time-only race. It wasn't what you trained for, it didn't require fartlek's, hill work, mile repeats, or quarters at tempo pace. And no, you didn't get to qualify for state. Still, you learned so much more. You didn't sacrifice for your teammates or for your pride, you sacrificed to save people's lives. Your PRs were put on hold, they don't matter for now.

What you've done is way more than any number that appears on a watch once the finish line is crossed. You've just performed for a larger audience than 20 or 30 teammates and three or four coaches. And unlike most races, where only one breaks the tape, this time you all did. You will all go down as hopefully the only class EVER to go through this. There aren't medals shiny enough to enshroud your deserving necks. Though now, you hear phrases like "time you can't get back," and "it ended so abruptly," one day this will be replaced with "You're from the Class of 2020! Tell me about that!"

Maybe it was like the mile. The first lap you had no clue what you were getting into, if you could even do this. The second lap you had to develop a new stride, find a rhythm never before found, invent a gear not currently in your training plan. The third lap, a new you was born. Maybe you can do this, maybe we all can. Maybe we're almost there. On the fourth and final lap, you saw an end in sight, a finish line of sorts. This one moved, though; bobbed and weaved with the changing of every newsbreak, but it was out there. Like the runner that you are, you simply moved towards it.

You see, you can alter the rules, vary the course, constantly mess with the finish line, but you can't change the runner. What's in your soul is there, and it will always move ahead. Even now, with the end unsure, you just keep going. Lap four, hopefully, is ending soon. But congrats to all of you because you'll keep moving anyway. There will be plenty more races to train for -- some of them local, many out of town, this one world-wide.

And guess what? One day soon you'll cross a finish line that's never been crossed, in a race never before held. You will be remembered, as you dang well should. Most people train for events with course maps, guidelines, rules, restrictions, and an order of finish. You had none of that. So, great job to you all. Your time will never, can never, be broken, official computerized scoring or no. 

You all just made history. And there isn't a podium alive that's big enough to hold you.

Congratulations. Seriously… congratulations!