I remember pinning on that cross country race number each weekend to that navy blue singlet in high school, trying to line up the number straight below the golden S-O-Q-U-E-L. Besides allowing me to legally compete in meets, that uniform carried so many other components: pride, friendship, nerves, memories, and something bigger than myself: a team. The uniform was a golden ticket to another part of myself and a deeper sense of compassion beyond self, and when I put it on I felt that sense of honor.
Almost 20 years later (or more or less for others), we wear a jersey again. But this time we pin those race numbers below A-R-E-T-E. We may not run for the same reasons we once did. Some of us are faster or slower than we once were. We may run longer now, have a new competitive edge, or we may not feel competitive at all. However, we feel that sense of pride that we did as young people putting on our first uniform. The act of wearing a uniform in a local turkey trot doesn’t matter in the slightest and yet at the same time, it’s everything. A spirited spectator recognizes your team, and yells, “GOOOO ARETE!! Get after it!” You pick up your step for a second and remember that yes, you signed up for that day. You paused your adult responsibilities and reminded yourself how good it feels to test your limits and to feel brave in the same way you did as a teenager sweating across the finish line. Determination, grit, & strength. Caring so deeply about your teammate lining up next to you. Reaching over and giving her a hand squeeze, a pat on the back, and a slight smile: the universal sign of “you got this, girl!” It’s all still there and it feels so good to let it rise to the surface once again.
Today, we wear A-R-E-T-E on our hearts, and we have grown from the brave girl to the brave woman crossing the finish line. Once again, we are showing up for ourselves and for a force much bigger than ourselves alone: team Arete.
Would you like a chance to race and wear Arete blue and join our lady squad? Join one of our chapters in Santa Cruz, Oakland/East Bay, Santa Barbara, or Chico.