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Tonight, we gather here in Alumni Hall to celebrate this season's accomplishments as a team, as a school, and as a community.

Though the sport in which I participate this season has everything to do with time, I do not wish to speak today about running. I wish to speak about that clock on that wall.

Student athletes, how many times have you sat in these seats looking up at the clock trying to cram the last tater tot into your mouth before you had to go to class?

Or how many times have you glanced up to this clock to gauge whether you have speed walk or run to the lower mod to make it in time for A Block?

If you are remotely similar to me, chances are, you do that quite often.

I would like to begin speaking about my very first cross country race when I finished not knowing what time I had run.

On a relentlessly warm 95-degree day in August, I laced up for my first race of the season as an eighth grader. I hopped on the white line with my new high school teammates and followed the massive pack once the gun fired. All it took was sixty seconds into the race for me to  realize how much I despised running...or at least, I thought I did. I remember slipping across woods chips and tripping over my own feet as I ran, distracted by looking at my surroundings hoping I wasn't lost. I loathed the people standing along the course “cheering” me on, telling me to go faster.

With each step, I could feel my body tightening up, not wanting to continue any further. As I ran, I went over what I would say to my parents. "It's not for me," I would say, or "I'm just going to focus on soccer." These would be my excuses I would try to use for getting out of something I really just did not want to do. I remember finishing determined to tell my parents I was done with the sport.

Upon finishing, I stumbled to a tree and collapsed into the grass. It was not a pretty sight. I could barely breathe and I kept sneezing like I was mad. My feet burned and ached and I couldn't even reach down to untie my shoelaces. Really... I thought to myself, I can't even touch my toes. What kind of a sport is this?

Within seconds of finishing, my coach ran up to me and told me that I came in 3rd with eyes wide and a big grin on his face. I’m not entirely sure what I responded with but looking back on it, I would most likely feel the need to apologize. I hadn't the slightest concern over what place I finished the race in. All I wanted was to breathe normally again and be reassured that my parents would allow me to rethink my decision to run.

I sat there for while longer hating my body. I was uncomfortable with the amount of pain I was in. Regaining the feeling in my legs, I slowly rose from the grass and stumbled towards the side of the finish line watching the other runners come in.

I remember looking up towards the trail and seeing girl after girl race by looking just as mad and as unphotogenic as I was. Shortly, I was surrounded by a mass of sweaty runners sprawled out along the grass just as I was. That's when it clicked. This sport isn't supposed to be easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it. I wasn’t the only person in pain as I ran, everybody was. As I realized this, my legs began to feel lighter and my breathing slowed. My mind overcame my body and has continued to for the past five years.

One thing that has really been ingrained in me throughout my time as an athlete is that if you feel comfortable while doing it, chances are you're doing it wrong.

All athletes in this room tonight know the feeling I'm talking about. The last few minutes of a game or race when your legs burn and your head tells you to stop moving and rest. I congratulate you all for not giving in to the voices which target our bodies daily. You survived a fall sports season and have rightfully earned the spot you are sitting in. That alone is something to congratulate.

Although many wouldn’t think of themselves as privileged to run along our treacherous trails, I am truly privileged.

I believe that everyone in this room is privileged. We are privileged to play alongside determined, hard-working teammates. Privileged to be coached by loyal and inspiring coaches. We are also privileged to perform on surfaces maintained by members of Plant & Property whenever the erratic New England weather strikes us.

Here, on the hill, time has a way of getting away from us; we all have the same 24 hours in a day. No one gets any more than another and that is unfortunate because like all of us I sure could have used a few more hours studying for an exam or completing a paper.

My parents have spoken often to me of time management. Have a schedule, write it down, and then follow it. Make sure your schedule includes some breaks and if you follow your schedule you will be more efficient with your time. I have attempted to follow that wise advice for the most part, every once in awhile straying from my schedule to catch up with friends or take a walk around campus. As athletes, we are always concerned with time.

On the cross country team we all know our personal record times; soccer players know the score and have the clock winding down in the corner of their eyes. Field hockey and volleyball revolve around the scoreboard clock and even the rowers have their 2k times in mind. We are always racing against the clock, striving to be the best that day whether it be as a team or as an individual we are all controlled by time.

With each practice we fiercely work to improve our time, and our efficiency.

Though that may be the focus of the sport, its a shame to carry on with our daily lives invariably concerned with what the next game plan will be.

At this point, we need to take advantage of time. Time left with our teammates, on our familiar surfaces, and our time left in our maroon and blue uniforms.

Not only is our season coming to an end, but for me and my fellow seniors, our time at Northfield Mount Hermon is ticking away. We tend to rush everything, can't wait for this class to end, this day to end, can’t wait for the weekend to come. It's what we do.

Papers to finish, tests to be taken, projects to complete, and for us seniors, applications, essays, and decisions to be made on time.

Time, being such a valuable item, is something we all take for granted. We use it, we waste it, it can work against you, and if you’re lucky, it can work in your favor. In some circumstances, we can even have over time which many of us take for granted.

We have all faced the constraints of time.

What I would like us to do is take a look at our time left here at NMH and explore how we can use some of that time to make a difference for us as well as the fellow Hoggers down the road.

So you don’t worry about not knowing how much time you have, I did the math.

For us seniors, we have 198 days, 15 hours, 14 minutes and 1 second left until graduation.

Juniors, you have 564 days, 15 hours, 14 minutes and 1 second left.

Sophomores, 929 days, 15 hours, 14 minutes and 1 second left

And for the lucky freshmen, you grand total rounds up to 1,294 days, 15 hours, 14 minutes and 1 second left on this campus.

In the heat of things, we oftentimes forget why were on the court, the water, field, or trail in the first place. After a hard loss it is easy to become frustrated and angry. What to do then? Save a little time for reflection.

When everything that could go wrong did, my father would always tell me to control what can be controlled, and forget about the rest.

If everyone in this room were to go about their daily lives with this advice in mind, we would be much happier.

Control what can be controlled, and simply enjoy the activity we are involved in, and the people who surround us.

We are not capable of controlling time, but we are capable of how we spend it.

Whether your time is running down for the season, or your time overall on this campus, embrace it.

I can promise you no matter what your calculation is, it won’t be enough.

Time really is of the essence.

Thank you.

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