A Family Tradition


Zoee Young, Opinion Writer

“Who runs for fun?”

Most people who do not run cross country ask this. Honestly, though, who’s willing to sign up for cross country knowing that all you do every day is run? Why would anyone run cross country?

Freshman runner, Charle Mattila, answers with, “Well, mostly because my mom is the coach and me being a natural athlete, running is really fun for me.” Most people would be blown away by Mattila’s answer. People usually do not think of running cross country as their first option.

More questions come up for people running cross country. “Do they actually like doing it?” Well, Mattila’s answer: he loves it! “Cross country has become a part of my life, I have gotten really good at the sport, and I do not want to change that.”

Partnered with Shannon Hall is coach Shannon Mattila (Charle Mattila’s Mom). And Charle Mattila is not wrong. He is a strong runner and one of the top boy runners on the team. A goal that Mattila is aiming for his freshman year is to make it to state in Lewiston. Most people would laugh at Charle for even thinking he could make it to state as a freshman, but not Coach Mattila.

She says, “To qualify for state, you must be one of the top 7 runners in our league, which is usually around 50 people. To do this, Charle must continue exerting maximum effort in both practices and races.”

When asked what it is like to have a parent as a coach in high school, Charle said, “Oh, very weird. I can not do as much as I would like to, so it kinda gets a little awkward, but still, it is not horrible.”

On the other hand, Mrs. Mattila’s response was a little different, “There are some unique challenges to coaching your own kid. On the one hand, I am able to give Charle coaching advice at any time, and I get honest feedback about all of the coaching decisions that we make, both positive and negative.”

There is no doubt that cross country is a demanding sport. If you talk to other athletes about what they think about cross country, you will hear differently. But what they don’t know is that running for a straight 3.1 miles with no stopping or breaks can be an extreme physical challenge. Mental toughness is a significant factor when it comes to running, and we definitely get a sense of that in Charle Mattila.