State track is proof I do have a soul

People with red hair and freckles aren’t the only ones who question their souls.

As a journalist, it is incredibly easy to question whether or not there’s anything in our heartless cave filled with gossip, rumors, dirt, memorized responses to complaining phone calls and a few facts.

With every cheesy headline or cliché sentence written — or the thoughts of calling a coach to question him or her about something, or talking to an athlete in tears about ending their sporting careers — it gets harder and harder not to hate oneself.

After state track, I’m happy to report that I may have found a soul.

I thank Adrian’s Austyn Thier — who, thanks to autocorrect in Microsoft Word, has the biggest nightmare of a last name in the history of prep sports (Thier automatically changes to “their” each time used) — for helping me find my soul.

Although, I will say the fact you Minnesotans haven’t figured out whether or not you want to go with “on” or “en” to end your last names is a far bigger pain.

I digress.

Thier ended her high school running career Saturday at the track and field state meet at Hamline University in St. Paul. She added medal No. 13 for both track and cross country to the trophy case, with a third-place finish in the 800-meter run.

With temperatures in the 90s, Thier, who also ran in the 4×800-meter relay earlier, crossed the finish line, walked to the grass of the football field and slowly went down to the ground.

The newspaper is a pest in the sense it never goes away. Every day it’s empty, and every day it needs to be filled. There is no pushing work aside. You’re constantly thinking of ways to fill it, so you’ll sacrifice your soul a little to fill those sections.

A camera is the best way to fill it. Nothing draws the eye to a story like a picture, and there’s no better picture than those that show true emotion. You look for that blank stare after a loss or that unmistakable smile and embrace of victory.

Thier was the last area athlete I needed a picture of, so I had waited for that emotional arms-raised picture after her final high school race.

But she went down.

There was my chance to get a picture of struggling, but, instead, since no one from the medical tent felt like leaving the shade, I handed the poor girl a cup of water.

Then, some brilliant person asked if the girl who had been laying in the fetal position for five minutes was OK and brought her a towel.

See. We aren’t all terrible people in the media.

I probably should mention, before nominating me for a Nobel Peace Prize, I did tell Thier I wasn’t going to be able to take a picture of her getting her medal if she stayed on the ground.

Like a true athlete who had put up with the media for years, she apologized and struggled to try and get up.

It was a joke, Austyn. Drink your water, so I can pat myself on the back and forget for a second that I’m a sleazy journalist.