Today marks the end of an era, the final stand of Historic Hayward Field and the veritable symbol of American distance running.
Legends and their feats echoed across this field, along with the chants and cheers of impassioned fans, inspiring the many who have trained or competed there.
For the running enthusiast, no single venue may ever compare to the one which hosted so many world and national records, Olympic athletes and hopefuls, NCAA and USA Championships, their many stories and the ineffable sensations which motivated them to compete, to challenge themselves and to discover their capacity for greatness.
For generations, Hayward Field has stood proudly as a proving grounds and a launching pad for those who've religiously trained for their moment and others who've gathered there to be inspired or to witness the incredible.
With this loss comes a blank slate, and though state of the art, no investment can possibly recapture the spirit of history, the blood, sweat and tears represented by the one and only Hayward.
No investment can restore the radiant glow of such a historic site which attracted so many to relive, retell and follow those special tales, to partake in a living storybook of history's greatest athletic achievements.
Any replacement is destined to exist artificially in preserving any vestige of this appeal.
Unfortunately, there is far too much high-tech hysteria around the world for many to truly appreciate the value of something so abstract, leaving yet another example of the negative consequences of the insatiable appetite for instant gratification or the day's unshakable definition of progress.
In so many ways, and especially evident in the case of Hayward Field, progress can manifest in an unwavering commitment to principle or in the resolute appreciation for what one already has.
There will always be another example of something newer, fresher, bigger or more extravagant; however, nothing can replace the boldness or the originality of remaining true to form.
This is plainly indispensable, an incomparable characteristic which others can only aspire to emulate but predictably fail to replicate.
Just as with the stadium, the person.
He who fails to recognize his own strengths, who neglects to appreciate that which makes him special, is destined to seek out validation in ways which will invariably prove futile or unfulfilling.
He will live an existence which proves artificial and flimsy, flapping meekly in the wind of fashionable opinion.
In this moment in time, we can recall these lessons to remain true to ourselves, to live and love deliberately, and to do it all thoughtfully with respect for who we are and what we represent.
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