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Thinking About Tomorrow

The cross-country team used the local park to practice for meets. It was a great place to run because the park had lots of big trees that shaded the trails. The runners loved these trails because they gave the team a break from running in the hot sun.

Then a ferocious ice storm hit the community one winter. The weight of the ice broke branches off all the trees in the city and toppled many of the older, larger trees. The storm destroyed most of the trees in the park.

The community was going to get federal money to help rebuild the area — and that included sending in new trees. But the community needed volunteers to help with the planting. It was going to be a big job, digging holes and tamping down the soil after the trees were planted.

The captain of the cross-country team talked to the team about volunteering for the job. Nearly everyone thought it was a good idea. In fact, some members offered to call runners on other teams who had run meets in the park. All the teams that used the park knew what those lost trees meant. Who better to volunteer some muscle than athletes?

In all, nearly 150 athletes showed up to plant trees. The new trees were very small, especially compared to the lost trees. But the planters were going to be able to watch these trees grow over the years and give shade to new generations of runners. These athletes would be forever linked to this park and these trees. Said one planter, “It’s really cool to know that these trees will stand for decades, and that we helped make it happen. Maybe I can bring my kids to the park and show them big trees. I’ll tell them the story.”