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Reflective Essay on My Experience in Track and Field

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I enjoy reading and learning about track and field especially about very talented athletes. The book that caught my eye was, “See How She Runs, Marion Jones & the Making of a Champion”. This book is really interesting to read about a young athlete achieve her dreams of being in the Olympics and to see the reality of competing against the best athletes in the world. But it would take time to achieve those dreams.

Ron Rapoport, the author of, “ See How She Runs, Marion Jones & the Making of a Champion,” was a sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 20 years (Ron Rapoport, Los Angeles review of books). He has written numerous books about sports and show business.

Marion Jones was born in Los Angeles California on October 12, 1975. When Marion was two years old, her father, George Jones left the family, showing no interest in Marion ( Beth, Rowan, In 1990, she started her freshman year of high school in Rio Mesa in Oxnard, California, later switched to Thousand Oaks, where she competed in basketball, track and field. At age 15, she ran the 200 meters in 22.87 seconds, breaking the national high school record (Beth, Rowan,

A big decision was to be made when her accomplishments on the track began to go national, she would have to choose between basketball and track and field. If she really wanted to go to the Olympics, she should be dedicating herself only to track and field. She attended the University of North Carolina on a basketball scholarship, where she contributed to her final basketball season winning twenty nine games, losing only three and winning a national title for the team. Marion decided she would be leaving basketball to be full time in track and field. In April 1997, Marion returned to the track to achieve her dream of running in the Olympics.

“Maybe it was just a way of my body saying, ‘ You’ve pushed me long enough, and it’s time for you to rest ” (Rapoport, 2000, p. 206). This quote is very important to understanding how much hard work and dedication it takes to compete at the highest peak performance the human body can take. Marion is a very talented athlete competing in multiple events that require different technique; long jump and sprinting events. When Marion was at the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain, while she was running in the 200 meter semi-final race, she was running around the curve of the track when she felt a spasm in her lower back. She lost control of her body and every movement triggered sharp pain. After that incident she still believed she could compete in the P2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

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My Freshman year I joined my first high school sport, track and field. I opened up my season with a personal best of 15 feet in the long jump, 13.44 in the 100 meter dash and 28.33 in the 200 meters. I was pretty excited with my time and distance for only my freshman year. Near the end of the season I qualified for the Edmonds School District Championships. I was still battling injuries from the beginning that kept me from competing my best. That all changed when I got on the long jump runway I felt light and fast. I jumped a foot farther than my personal record. I was surprised, I thought the officials measured it wrong. I didn’t set a personal best in any other event, but it was a great meet, winning 1st place for the first time in my high school sports career.

Throughout the season, I battled a bunch of ankle injuries and leg injuries from going back and forth between sprints and long jump. Towards the end of the season my body was done, I couldn’t jump as far as I did before or run as fast as I did before and I was really tired. Injuries got worse and I needed a long recovery.

I would recommend this book to people who are interested in track and field and basketball. The reader would have to have some background information to understand either basketball or track and field scoring and records. For example, Marion averaged 14.1 points and 3.2 steals per game and 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists (Rapoport,2000. Pg. 56).

While I was reading, I wanted to learn more about Marion Jones. Under her name many articles came up about Marion Jones using steroids. I found an article that caught my attention called, “Marion Jones Admits Using Steroids”. I didn’t know that she had been accused of doping in 2007. Rapport wrote the biography in 2000, 7 years before she was charged with doping. I’ve never heard of Marion Jones until I read this book and I certainly didn’t know that she had charges involving steroid use. Marion acknowledged using steroids before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia (Tedford Deborah). If the author would have published this book later and had talked about the doping charges it would have a better understanding to the audience.

Ron Rapport did a wonderful job of incorporating dialogue from Marion and many others that are part of her life. It made it easier for me to understand the main events. The description of very detailed important events were short and easy to understand for the audience. A few pictures helped me understand key moments the author was talking about. A few weaknesses were, some of the events didn’t transition well into the other, which made it difficult to fully understand what the author was trying to tell the audience about from reading it just one time. I wish there were pictures throughout the book, instead of being on one page in the middle of the book. Lastly, I wished this book went further along into her athletic career when she retired and about the doping case.

In conclusion, this book was very interesting and inspiring. Marion started competing at a very young age with rough patches in her early childhood. As she progressed through her athletic career she overcame those tough times and pushed herself to achieve her dreams.

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