I took up running for exercise a few years ago. I was really shy about it. I would run during off hours or purposely avoid eye contact if I was around others. It took me a while to build up stamina. Once I did though I was a bit more confident. I signed up for a race. I wasn't in it to win it, just to do my first 5k. I was intimidated when I got there - everyone looked like a real runner; I felt like an imposter.
And then I started running. Many passed me even though I started out towards the back, I passed a few. But I kept going. And as I ran I noticed runners off tot eh sides. The first race was a big one - 30,000 people ran it that day. And I passed twisted ankles, unidentifiable ailments, several pukers - and what struck me, what made me love running - was none of those people were alone. Every person who pulled off to the sidelines had people stop to make sure they were ok.
Since then I've done lots of 5k's. I did one this past weekend. I didn't have time to warm up before hand and it wasn't a timed race. So about 1/4 mile in I pulled off to the side to stretch. 2 people stopped running "you ok?" I was, I smiled, I sent them off. I have had total strangers on the street see me stop, and grasp a pole along the sidewalk as I stretch my calves, and they ask "are you ok?" - they don't see I'm stretching, just that I was running and now I stopped and am holding onto something.
I did a Warrior Dash (a 5k obstacle course) this summer. There were inspirational signs along the route urging us on. At least two said "leave no Warrior behind!" At one obstacle my friend was scared. It was a rope bridge over pointy rocks. Her legs were jelly 2k and half a dozen obstacles in. It was a timed race. And still a guy behind her braced against the ropes to hold them taut for her. She inched out. She started nervously singing to herself "you're the best, around.." Next thing the guy holding the ropes joined in "nothing is gonna ever keep you down" and then we realized a group of about 8 people were backed up to cross the two rope bridges and they all started singing, loudly "Fight till the end, 'Cause your life will depend, On the strength that you have inside you, Gotta be proud..." She got across, and she and I both maybe had a little bit of something in our eyes...
I've never competed in team sports. I liked running because it was just me, no one relying on me (I'm a clutz sometimes, especially under pressure). Then I started really running and its a team sport of the best kind because every runner is on the same team, together.
Stacy needs to learn that.