Throughout our whole lives we are always striving for something more. I think titles are especially valued in us humans. We want to be the boss, we want to make the most money, we want to be on top and in charge. Even for those of us who aren’t exactly the most ideal leaders of the world, I feel as though we’d like to be.
Unfortunately, I fall into that category. My personality is very inward and I like to keep to myself. I don’t really like telling people what to do, and I hate the biggest fear that comes with being a leader, “Do my followers hate me?” It’s not even that I care what others think of me, you know? They can think whatever of me as long as it’s not a hatred for me.
When I was in 7th grade, I joined my school’s cross country team. The high school coach knew me well and always had the nicest things to say to me. In high school, I joined his team. Me and my 2 closest friends on the team were his little freshman (even when we were seniors!). Throughout my whole entire cross country career I was always being told that I would make a good team captain. The girls in my running group were all good friends with me and I tried so hard to get to know everyone on the team (which was about 180 people!). I showed up to practice at 7am every day in the summer, I came to every practice at 6am before school, I stayed for practice after school, and I even stayed after that sometimes to do extra strength routines. I wanted to be team captain so badly. There were 5 for the girls, and 5 for the boys. I could make at least one of them, right? After all, I’ve been running since I was 12!
When the day came to announce team captains I was so nervous. Everyone got to vote for 2 girls and 2 boys. I voted for my 2 best friends of course, I couldn’t vote for myself just because I would’ve felt awful about it.
All the girls got announced, and I wasn’t on that list. I smiled and cheered for my friends, as both of them got captain, and so did 3 other deserving girls. I honestly just remember laughing and smiling through the pain I was feeling. I was so hurt. I really thought I had a chance. I thought I had a huge chance, actually. I was so confident because so many of my teammates and my own coach had told me for years that I would make a great team captain. So why wasn’t I team captain?
My coach started to play music because after the captains are announced we have a huge dance party. I went over to congratulate everyone and when I hugged my best friend on the team, I started to cry. I really couldn’t help it. There was so much going through my head. I was hurt, confused, and upset, but also very happy for all the new team captains.
My coach saw me, and I played it off as if I was crying because I was a senior and sad that this was my last dance party, but I think he knew what was wrong. He apologized to me, and said the poll was very close. He told me I’m still a leader on this team and that he needs me. He gave me a hug, and I wanted to forgive him, but it was just so hard. Not that anything was his fault. I was just upset that for so many years he had told me I’d be a great team captain. I was built so high up and viciously knocked down that night.
Throughout that season, I forgot about not being a team captain. My teammates were so kind to me and basically treated me as if I was one. I guess we always pay a little more respect to the seniors though. Either way, I appreciated it.
I look back on this day and I see it so differently than I did back then. Why did I want to be a team captain? I can’t even answer this question, but like I said, humans strive for titles. We want to be on top. I wanted the title of “Cross Country Captain” and that was it.
Sure, the experience sucked at the time, but it taught me that a title isn’t everything. You can still be a leader. You can still be a part of a team. You can still make an impact on someone.
You just have to let yourself.
After I got over being upset and feeling sorry for myself, I helped the team and did exactly what I did before captains were announced and more. I helped my teammates and dedicated my season to them rather than myself. I wanted to help them become better. I already knew I wasn’t going to run in college, I didn’t need this season as much as my younger teammates.
I ended up having a fantastic season and didn’t let anything bring me down.
I didn’t need the title of being a captain to make people respect me.
And that goes to all of you. You don’t need to have a certain title to make people like you or look up to you. Be yourself and work hard. You’ll find your path whether it’s a leadership role or not, I promise you that. After all, there would be no such thing as leaders if they didn’t have dedicated followers!
So this was my story for the Happy Yellow Duck Competition! I hope it was alright!
Check out the announcement about Yellow Duck here!
If you are interested in entering the competition, check out this post!
Thank you for taking the time to read! I’m really looking forward to reading everyone’s posts 🙂