The Finnish Line / by Courtney Mehlhaff

The Olympics are finally over, which brings to mind a story of athleticism and glory from my high school days.

This naturally means that the story does not involve me.

A friend of mine went to the first day of cross-country practice, and he found himself jogging along next to the foreign exchange student from our class that year. He was on loan from a Nordic country and was a bit of an odd duck. I don't think it was just the language barrier, either. I think maybe his home country just wanted him off their hands for awhile.

Anyway, they were about halfway through that day's exercise, when the exchange student turned to my friend and said, "Is this all we do, is run?"

My friend replied, "Well, yeah. It's cross-country."

And without breaking his stride, the exchange student simply veered away and ran off the course, straight back to his host family's house and into cross-country quitters lore forever.

But I have to admire him. It wasn't what he thought it was, it wasn't what he wanted, so he made the immediate decision not to waste his time on it. 

So to the weird, decisive, and therefore kind of wonderful student who shall remain anonymous -- I salute you. You've inspired me to go swifter, higher, stronger in my delivery of straight-up "nope"s.