Shoelaces and trees

Shoelaces and trees

Shoe laces and trees are two simplistic items, but to the girls cross country team, they are more than just everyday things – they are their tradition.

Junior Emmy Willemin created this tradition because she wanted the girls to have something special. Senior captain Marissa Lunt said, “The boys cross country team has always done some sort of crazy tradition, and we all thought it would be nice to have our own tradition. It started towards the end of the season, but it’s still our tradition that will be perpetuated.”

This tradition serves as a right of passage as it represents the honor of being a cross country runner throughout high school. In this tradition, each senior runner ties a shoelace from her favorite pair of running shoes from when she first joined cross country. This is important to the current and future teams as it is unifying. The shoelace tradition allows all of the female athletes on the team to  convene one last time and recognize the seniors. While recognizing the seniors, this inspires the underclassmen to continue their cross country career as they are able to look forward to partaking in this tradition with a larger role when they are seniors. The seniors then present a brief speech thanking the girls team for everything through this emotional process.

Sophomore Gwen Lamport is passionate about this tradition. She truly enjoys it and elaborated on the tradition by saying, “We find a tree at night and go to the school. The seniors gather themselves and the team around the chosen tree in the shoelace tying ceremony. The seniors then proceed to tie their freshman shoelaces around the tree and light candles to pass the flame down from seniors, to juniors, to sophomores, then finally, the freshmen.”

It is clear that this tradition is important to the overall team but also to the individuals on the team as well. Through this tradition, each individual athlete grows as an athlete and as a person. It provides a place for underclassmen to connect with upperclassmen, especially the seniors, athletically and in real life too. This tradition bonds any fissures in the team which boosts team chemistry. The girls team is hoping to continue this tradition and to my personal knowledge, it will be.

Every team has something special; however, this group of girls took tradition to the next level. This tradition does not only last one day, for it lasts for years as they use the same tree. By using the same tree, that tree will—over time—be filled with tied shoelaces from all female athletes who were on the cross country team throughout high school.

Cross country athlete or not, every team should have a tradition like this one. Lacrosse has the tartar sauce game, volleyball has volleyball sisters, and football has position dinners. However, the cross country team joins the other teams in a tradition that is unique and original which will make it flourish and long lasting.