Discourse community of Lailah White


Lailah White

ENG 1121

Revised Discourse Communities

Professor Penner

Word Count: 1029

20 February 2020

        When you hear about track and field, you most likely think about the world famous sprinter

Usain Bolt or the Olympics with the bright lights and shining gold medals, but I’m here to tell

you from first hand experience that it is way less glamorous than that. Before I joined track I

used to think the same thing and is one of the biggest reasons why joined the team in the first

place. Everyone you meet usually has already been running since the age of six so when I joined

freshman year of high school I felt very much intimidated by all the fast people. also people your

age have built a name for themselves in this community. Overtime, you begin to develop and

become faster through practice, while making a couple of good friends and memories along the


     My first interaction with track begin in the physical education class, I knew I wanted to either

join basketball or track because I was planning ahead for my future to get a scholarship and go to

college for free. I chose track first because everyone my whole life told me that I was tall and

fast, but that is beside the point. There was a three day tryout for track and I decided to go after

school. I could tell that from the coach the team’s goal was to win a championship for the school

and one day be the best girl’s track team in the nation. The girls on the team were like a pack that

you had to break into, they had their own group chats, they would hold meetings every Friday

before competition, and always sit together during lunch. One thing that never changed with the

team was the conversations in the locker room before practice. This is where they would discuss

their classes, their daily drama in school, and how hard practice was about to be. The girls would

always joke about how they all were going to quit track but they never did. In school you could

always count on hearing about the track team on the loudspeaker in the mornings. This is where

the principal would list out all the accomplishments of the past weekend’s competition. When I

was on the team hearing my name on the loudspeaker gave me pride and joy because my

classmates and my friends in the hallways would tell me “good job”.

    Something else that I enjoyed about the track team was the new language I learned along the

way. A few words and phrases I learned was “taking out” and “PR”, which means to run out

before you get the baton in a relay and to run a personal record in an event. These things helped

me better fit in with the track community because I was able to communicate in their language. It

is important to know the language of track but before you can be fully accepted into the track

community you would have to know at least how to run correctly and have the right gear to run.

this would include spikes, trainers, and a bag with a change of clothes for practice. It is also very

important to have a good coach because without a good coach you are not going to be able to run

fast times, and when you run fast times you are more likely to get more friends because people

like to think they are friends with the next Olympian. The faster you are the more known you

become round the track community.

    I decided to ask one of my teammates about their experience with track to get a different

perspective. My teammate Quinzell is a sprinter and I am a middle distance runner, you may be

asking yourself what is the difference. The two sections involve obviously running but for

middle distance you are typically running 400 meter and up, with a sprinter it is the 400 and

down. Quinzell’s track career started when she was 6 to 7 years old, most people in the sport

usually start around this time, it is very rare that you find people just starting track in high school

like myself. She says that she got into track through family and her culture, Guyanese, in the

Caribbean it is very normal for a child to do track because the people on the island are very

active in walking everywhere they go. For others that are not Caribbean they hear about track

through the potential scholarships that they could get, making college expenses less of a burden.

Quinzell practices everyday of the week except weekends, which are taken up with running

meets. Her favorite part about track is the away meets because she gets to travel with her team

out of the state to compete. Her least favorite part would be practice, there are two types of

practices that she goes to, weight room and running. Weight room is used to get the sprinters’

bodies strong and explosive. The running practices are used to get the runner faster and also

explosive. The runners in the community always have a debate on who has the harder practice, it

is still in debate today.

     In conclusion, track and field took me off guard because I never expected a sport to challenge

me mentally, physically, and spiritually all in one. The sport is way more than running because it

pushes you to work harder, even when you feel you’re at your worst. This was a confusing

concept to get my head around because I was used to always getting the results for my hard work

right away, but with track some days are good and some days are bad so you continue to work

until it pays off. So if I had the chance to talk to my younger self,  I would tell myself how hard

the challenges of track would be because initially, I thought track was just running and you get a

scholarship right away, but it takes so much more like dedication and a lot consistent hard work.


Works cited

Brazilio, Quinzell. (Friend) Personal interview (In person) . 20 February 2020