It was a cold, January morning, and a park that was close to my home was hosting a 5K race. My family and I, being the runners that we are, decided to sign up. After we signed up, we got ready, headed to the start line, and took off.
Heading to the first mile marker, I happened to run past one of my friends, who I noticed was struggling a bit. I remembered he had asthma just like me, so I understood the struggle he was facing. When he saw me, he asked if I could stay with him, and I willingly decided to. We walked whenever he needed to catch his breath and ran whenever he felt strong enough again to keep going. We both ended up finishing the race together.
Whatever sport it is that you play, everyone is going through the same struggles as you are. It could be the weather, it could be you're feeling sore from the day before, it could be you're not having the best day, etc. Regardless of whatever your situation is, everyone is in it together, and you don't have to go through it alone. There will always be someone, whether it's a fellow teammate, your parents, fans cheering from the stands, to support and guide you.
Now, I could've just continued running my race and leave my friend behind, but I'm not that kind of athlete. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who was the fastest or slowest, weakest or strongest out there. What matters is you finish what you started and never quit. To me, quitting is looked more down upon than being slower or not as strong as usual. Every athlete has their off days, so having a not great practice or game is a little more forgiving than if you quit altogether.
To be honest, I would have felt more guilty than proud of my run if I didn't help my friend. Like I said, we are all going through the same thing in that moment. Whatever or whoever your competition is, there are still similar factors everyone is competing against.
We're all in this together.