Those who know me know that I love to run. However, even more than I love to run, I love my team. As anyone who has ever played a high school sport can confirm, your team is like your family.

They are the people who know you better than anyone else; the people that are there for you when your shirt is sticking to your chest, tears are in your eyes and you simply cannot run up the hill by Middlebrook one more time; the people that laugh with (or usually at) you when you trip on the path to Merwin Meadows and plaster yourself with mud; the people with whom you laugh, cry, eat, and travel for the greater part of four months.

Therefore, when I fractured my pelvis while running one year ago this month and was told that I would not return for my senior cross-country season, I was devastated.

I simply could not fathom the fact that I was never going to run my home course again, never going to cross the finish line on senior night. For most of the summer, “running” was a taboo word in my house as, to the delight of my family, I moped and wallowed in my misery.

However, the fall sports season now draws to a close, and while my time on the sidelines has not been fun, I have learned one thing that I might otherwise not have: the true meaning of “T-E-A-M.”

Last Tuesday was cross-country senior night. For those who do not know, senior night for any sport is a big deal. The underclassmen laboriously spend the night before decorating the school with posters, streamers, and photographs celebrating the seniors and advertising the night to come.

I went into the day with low spirits, more than frustrated that I would not take part in my last home meet.

However, upon entering the high school, the flurry of blue and white put me in my place. Even though I did not run, freshmen whom I barely knew made posters in my honor, a junior placed a banner with my name in large letters along the course, and, upon my arrival at the meet, the underclassmen raced to present me with flowers, shouting my name.

Despite my inability to run my team was still there for me, still waiting to call me part of the team.

My team taught me a lesson last week. They showed me that being on a team means much more than playing a sport; it means being there for your teammates even when their legs no longer work.

They showed me that, yes, your team is the people who you run with every day after school, but it is also the people who will take you to Orem’s for french fries and chocolate milkshakes at midnight; the people who understand when all you want to do on a Friday night is make cookies and pumpkin pie; the people whom you can frantically stop in the hallway on the way to math to share an embarrassing story.

They showed me what it really means to be a Warrior.

Casey Chase is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.