Daylon’s Daily: The beginning of the end

“I’m closer to hanging up my spikes and living out the future, but life imitates the high jump because you never know what the future can bring.”



Daylon Hicks prepares to jump at the Hayward Premiere in Eugene, Ore. on April 2.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

As my final attempt to clear 2.08 (6’9.5) failed at the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships this weekend, the emotions of my season started to overcome me.

My goal of trying to make the NCAA West Regionals failed and for the duration of the day, I was disappointed. I felt my mistakes could have been fixed. Whether it was running faster on the curve or having the thought in my mind, “I can do this,” improvements could have been made. But with high jump, you never know what kind of day it will be.

You can spend numerous hours trying to perfect your flaws with jumping, but you can still have a bad jump day. This was a lesson I experienced early on in the season with the Baldy Castillo Invitational in early March at Arizona State University. 

However, I transitioned from competitor to comrade as I noticed Mitch Jacobson was still in the competition.

We both had a rocky start as we were getting adjusted to the track and finding our groove, and as the competition started to vanish athlete by athlete. The weather during the competition was pleasant with clear skies and a nice breeze which helped both of us find our rhythm. 

The environment that Hayward Field provided during the championship was nothing like I had seen before. With fans in attendance because of the COVID-19 restrictions being dropped, you could hear the roars of everyone in attendance after each race (or whenever someone from the University of Oregon was mentioned). 

Mitch ended up placing second overall with a 2.17 (7 ‘1) jump, and as happy as I was for him, I couldn’t help but think of myself. With all the setbacks with having my toe injury and the infamous jumper’s knee, this season for me felt like a big “what if” due to the fact that I did not feel as healthy as I could’ve been.

As the day went along, I enjoyed seeing my friends and settling in with the thought of summer being here. I feel that I have space now to focus on family and improve upon my writing. Deep down, though, there was another piece of me that wanted to go home so I can work out and get my blood flowing.

The pain of not reaching a goal is a cruel feeling that cuts deep from within. But as an athlete, I want to feel the pain. The pain is good because it only ignites the fire for the next season. That was a trait from childhood that I learned to embrace: the concept of losing. I lost in numerous aspects of life, but losing is one of the reasons why I am competing at such a high level. 

When we arrived back in Pullman after the seven hour drive from Eugene, Ore., I was figuring out when to fly home. I knew I didn’t want to come home quite yet because of the opportunity to see teammates and because I wanted to enjoy the silence that Pullman provides. I eventually made the decision to stay for four days, and in those four days, I was able to create new memories of barbecuing with teammates and seeing people who graduated for the last time. 

The silence that Pullman provided, however, made me reflect on my time here at WSU, and my emotions of not reaching my goal healed because I know I gave the last meet the best attempt I could.

High jump, in a way, imitates art; not just because of the concept, but because of the raw emotions that are featured. 

Great artists like Picasso or van Gogh feature raw and expressive emotions in their work because it separates them from good to great. This is no different from the high jump. My emotions of pain and frustration can be used as fuel for the next season when I can push myself from good, to great.

From being a newcomer as a freshman to dealing with the chaos of the pandemic my sophomore year, to now heading into my senior year, the lifestyle of being a collegiate student-athlete went by in a flash.

I’m closer to hanging up my spikes and living out the future, but life imitates the high jump because you never know what the future can bring.