By: Blake Theroux (Customer Service/Content Creation/Marketing Team Member)
We’ve all heard the cliche, “There’s no I in TEAM!”, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link!”, “Teamwork makes the dream work!” We grow up on little-league baseball diamonds and football fields continually hearing cliches from weekend coaches-parents. Teachers preach them during group projects in school, while management writes them on whiteboards in the workplace. They remind us that teamwork is something to be valued and sought-after. I hated these cliches as a kid. I hated watching my teammates from the sidelines while my coaches fed me lies about how important I was to the team. I hated the fighting and bickering amongst my peers. I hated sweating my ass off for weeks just to watch the fruits of my labor wilt. I hated teams because I had never been apart of a great one.
The summer before my freshman year of high-school, my parents made the best decision of my life. They put me on the cross-country team. Notice how I didn’t mention any consent on my end. There was none. My parents decided for me because they knew I was both tired of bad teams and too indecisive to do something about it. “This is something we know you’ll be great at,” my father (a runner in his own right) told me. “You're tired of bad teams, but in running, if your team is terrible you can still succeed.” Sold.
There were 8 State Championship track meets held over the course of my high school career (2 per year, Indoor/Outdoor track). My team won 5 of them, and the three we lost were by less than 5 points. I was blessed. This wasn't a good team, this was an incredible team, but one I didn't always believe in. I remember, vividly, the last meeting before the 2007 State Championship meet. “Who here thinks we have what it takes to win States?” my coach, Claude Toukene, asked from the front of the room. I sat with my arms crossed and watched the rest of the room raise their hands. I had been on too many losing teams to look past what I saw as more of the same. More cliches. The shame of doubting what would become my second family was enough to change my attitude when I watched my teammates hoist the State Championship trophy one week later.
3 ½ years later and I felt like I was back in that meeting room. Only this time, I was at the University of Colorado. This time, I was the one with my arm up. This wasn't a team with something to prove. CU had history, legacy, a book immortalizing our grit. But we were in a slump, and everyone knew it. As a doe-eyed freshman, I had no illusions of changing the team. I was a small fish in a big pond. I wanted to learn and grow like everyone else. But I wanted to do it my way. The way I was taught, kindling a craving for something that couldn't be achieved as individuals. During my junior year, I was elected Co-Captain of the team. We went on to win the NCAA Championship that season and repeated in 2014.
I don't pretend to know everything about creating the perfect team because I don't believe such a thing exists. I do believe, however, that great teams are living things. Things to be tended to and cared for. I believe they're forged in the crucible of toil and sweat and cooled in the moments thereafter. Waiting for the guy struggling through his workout to finish tying his shoes before starting the cooldown run. Hugging that freshman who broke his PR when no one was watching. I believe while great teams don't always win, they always come together stronger the next day. Most importantly, I believe that anyone and everyone can be a great team member, some just still have their arms crossed.
About Blake Theroux
- 5’9 120lb race-weight
- Hometown - Chesapeake, Virginia
- Degree - Double Major History/English Literature
- High School - Western Branch High School
-State Champion, All-State over a dozen times.
-Captain of the team
-Contributed to 5 State Championship team titles (Indoor/Outdoor track)
- College - University of Colorado Boulder
-3-time All-American in Cross Country
-Co-Captain of the Cross Country team 2013, 2014.
-NCAA Cross Country Team Champions 2013-2014.
-10k 29:59 (Cross Country)
VO2 80 (1 test)
- Taking a break from running after 10 years to pursue my hobbies, career and new areas of fitness.
- Athletic Idol - Bruce Lee