Taylor Werner (white top) leads by example and congratulates her competition at the 2017 USATF Junior Championships in June.
This year’s USATF Outdoor Championships, held in Sacramento, CA., featured a host of spectacular performances from all age groups, ranging from the prep divisions to collegiate and professional athletics. However, one moment, though very brief, spoke volumes and proved that actions truly do speak louder than words.
The junior women’s 3,000 meter race would University of Arkansas of Arkansas freshman Taylor Werner separate from the rest of the pack throughout the race to win in 9:35.565.56 securing her spot on the U.S. team for the Pan American Junior Championships in Lima, Peru.
What was special, however, was what Werner did next following her victory.
Fresh out of her race and exhausted from competition, she turned back and congratulated each of her competitors as they crossed the line before walking off of the track herself, giving high-fives as they finished. Werner cheered and supported the other runners just as the crowd had for her, and that’s what made the moment special.
“I just knew how tough that race was, and it was super hot,” she said after. “I just wanted to make sure that everyone was okay. Even though it was more of a ‘nice to meet you and good job’ kind of thing, it was really fun for me to do that.”
Congratulating her competitors is something she’s always done in the past, and something she looks to continue doing in the future because it’s part of who she is. Werneris a firm believer in doing what’s right simply because it’s right. Her morals and Christian faith, along with her running abilities, has shaped her in such a way that has allowed her to become an example and a shining light to many.
She says that personally she does things in the name of God, and hopes that her good examples will show Him through her, and allow others to see her as a godly athlete, rather than just a nice and friendly one. Even if people don’t see her that way or don’t share her religious beliefs, however, she still aspires to use her position to spread the influence of good old-fashioned love and appreciation for others, something that everyone, athletes included, can practice in terms of using your position to influence others. With athletes arguably being some of the most influential people in modern times, it seems fitting for someone to want to use that position to make a positive impact.
Her example shows that, both inside and outside of athletics, the lives of everyday individuals, as well as the athlete culture, can be built further and greater than before off of two of the key standards in our society: sportsmanship and common courtesy.
“We’re all people and we’re all working hard,” she said. “We all have to push ourselves to the limit, and I think it’s just one of those things that would be really cool to see; to see people be treated how you want to be treated.”
Treating others how you want to be treated is the Golden Rule; the pinnacle of proper etiquette and human decency. It’s one of the first things taught in the early stages of life, and one of the many things reminded to and embedded in the minds of the young and the old as the years pass.
“We’re all the same inside, and everyone is always watching you,” she said. “If you have a bad race or don’t really like a competitor, try to put it aside because we all should be setting a good example.”
Though it was more so regarding athletes, Werner’s word of advice, if taken out of an athletic context and put into a more situational one, could be very useful to people of all ages. Perhaps we can all learn a thing or two, or even spread the word. Taylor Werner seems to have the right idea, so why not join the bandwagon?
So the next time you have to opportunity to build someone up, take it. Chances are you’ll change someone’s life, even in the slightest way. And remember, it’s not about you feeling good about making someone else feel good, but rather you being able to make an impact and influence those around you.