Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone, by Eileen

By August 9, 2018 November 12th, 2019 NVLD Bloggers

Every so often in my life you join something that is extremely difficult however in the end you are so happy you made the decision to stay with it. I experienced this being the only varsity girl during my first year of cross-country and am grateful for all the personal connections and personal growth I made. Throughout all the challenges each of them turned into a tremendous positive with the help and support I received from my coach Jim Adams, and the members of the Canton cross country team. I was able to see that my disability wasn’t a detriment and realized people respected me for who I am.

Photo of Eileen with her cross country friend

Photo courtesy of Eileen

The Canton team would always let me join them during warm-ups and would wait for me at the finish line. In addition, John Casserly, the Canton coach, always shared his outstanding stories about running and life with me. If there was ever an obstacle they jumped right in to help me. There were several occasions that I thought I ran for them however I am so glad I ran for Jim Adams. He was a father to a son with special needs so he had the skills to coach me effectively. He truly was the best coach for me as his life experience gave him skills the other coaches didn’t have.

Throughout the season I was able to gain more confidence and enjoy many great social interactions. For example I remember being at inter-divisionals and feeling weird I had my own starting box, as I was the only girl from my team. However, Coach Adams and the Canton Team joked about it with me saying, “at least you won’t get boxed in!” As, I finished the race my coach was waiting to give me a big hug then a second later the Canton girls jump in. Next came Sectionals and my experience crossing the finish line was no different. Coach Adams and I were just so proud I finished the race, as we knew finishing s race was a significant accomplishment. Overcoming this obstacle became real when I made All-Sportsmanship Team as I know my coach wouldn’t had selected me if it didn’t earn it.

My advice to others with NVLD is to take “The Road Less travel” as it is often leads to life long connections. Over the years I had incredible conversations with Jim Adams and the Canton team, the ones with my coach being especially memorable. Today when he sees me he has such a happy and excited tone of voice, as it’s clear he enjoys seeing me as much as I enjoying seeing him. I honestly feel this way about the conversations with all my running connections. Due to this experience I truly believe if you were able to step out of your comfort zone you would experience the same outcome. Yes it is true it will be difficult at first however in the end it will be very rewarding!


I love trying a difficult task as in the end it often leads to great friendships!

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