Running Into a New Experience

Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cities
Sean Pringle, Second Place
Grade 10, High School Division
Ms. Derbidge, Arroyo Grande High School

Prior to my sophomore year on the cross country team, I had never
seen my health at risk.  Yet, as it turned out, an activity in which I en-
joyed performing the most, would lead to some of the most difficult
decisions of my life.  In a truly unique way, these choices led me to
discovering a new part of myself that continues to guide me toward a
prosperous future.
This condition first appeared in September of 2007.  After finishing
a race in Clovis, I felt a faint dizziness.  It was as if my head was spin-
ning furiously, and I couldn’t stop it.  After an hour, the weariness
ended, but the condition did not.  Upon experiencing the same result
at the end of two more races, my cross country coach advised me to
consult a doctor.  That is when I decided to inform my parents about
this peculiar matter, and they took me to receive an  electrocardio-
gram at the Arroyo Grande Hospital.  The results: I had low blood
pressure and perhaps an enlarged heart.  For further testing, I went to
Sierra Vista Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.  After going through
a series of additional tests, I waited anxiously for two days, anticipat-
ing the test results.  To my relief, I did not have an overly large heart,
although my caring personality says otherwise, and my low blood
pressure was a result of the intense cardiovascular exercise I was
receiving from running.  However, it was during this time of anxiety
and anticipation that I witnessed all four aspects of the Four-Way
Test.
The first question of the Four-Way Test emerged out of my own self-
denial.  As running seemed to be a passion of mine, I never expected
it to cause such a detrimental effect on me.  As a result, I overlooked
the truth behind the reason for my condition.  I also failed to be truth-
ful to my family.  I waited to tell my parents about my “fainting experi-
ence” until it had occurred multiple times, and after my coach advised
me to get a check up.  Failing to tell the truth both to myself and the
people closest to me was a mistake that the Four-Way Test has
taught me never to do again.
While I waited for the hospital results, many thoughts flashed before
me concerning my cross country team members, my family, and even
myself.  My first concern was the effect that the results would have on
my future cross country running.  Would I still be able to participate on
the team?  As I thought of  this, I wondered whether I would be able
to go to future cross country meets  to race.  Would it be fair to desert
the other cross country members when I was concerned with my own
well-being?  I also took into account the response of my family.

 
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