Friday afternoon brought record temperatures (a high of 104 degrees) for the first Haymaker Cross Country meet of the season.  It was hot—there was no other way to describe it.  Mother Nature’s harshness presented an incredible challenge for the young athletes that gathered to compete.

My favorite teenage in a huddle with her teammates before the Junior High race...

My favorite teenage in a huddle with her teammates before the Junior High race…

There were some that were victorious—those that worked hard over the summer months to build a running base that would carry them past the vicious hurdle of a long run through what some might describe as the fires of hell.  There were others that were defeated both mentally and physically by the ruthless conditions.

As I watched the hundreds of athletes make their way across the course, there were several words that ran through my head:

  • Passion
  • Preparation
  • Perseverance

There was a visible difference between the young people that had developed these life skills, and those that were still searching to find them.

A gutsy run brought her both a 3rd place finish and a smile...

A gutsy run brought her both a 3rd place finish and a smile…

I was reminded of my own years as an athlete.  Little Anne Gibson was never the most physically talented athlete in the competition, but my 5’3” frame was packed full of the three P’s.  Although there were certainly times when I longed for another 6”s of height and muscles that would move me just a little bit faster, the three P’s brought me many athlete victories.

A younger Anne with her coach---a great mentor in her search for the three P's...

A younger Anne with her beloved coach after a victory in an ocean mile swim…

Although I retired from competitive athletics almost twenty years ago, I have taken that same passion, preparation and perseverance with me during every day of my adult life.  It is what drives me toward excellence as I raise both my children and my cattle on the prairies of Nebraska.


I cherish the opportunities that I have to pass along the three P’s to my daughters, and it brings me tremendous pride to watch them mature into hard working and determined young women.  I am also incredibly thankful for both my parents and my youth swimming coach for instilling these values so deeply in my heart.  I hope that they realize that every success that I achieve is linked back to their diligent mentoring.

Youth that develop the three P’s learn not to settle…

They learn to aspire for greatness, and figure out that the joy of success is sweetened by the hard work and determination that ensures it…

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Filed under Ashley Grace's Corner and The Chick Project..., Family, General

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