• Jason Bankston

The Life of Cooper

Recently my son (Cooper) had to do a school paper on his life and some of the important events that have made an impression on him. If you do not think you can be taught lessons then read below. I asked him if I could share his paper on my blog and he agreed to it, so I hope you enjoy it as much as my wife and I did.

For those of you who didn’t read the title, my name is Cooper. I was born August 3, 2005. I am currently 13. My family consists of my brother, Cody, who is in fifth grade, my mom (André Bankston), my dad (Jason Bankston), my three cousins (Makenzie, Riley, and Seth), and my grandparents (Pawpaw Larry, Pawpaw Jack, Nana, and Gram). I have a lot of uncles and aunts too. My mom and her parents are from Houma, and my dad and his parents are from Baker.

My dad is one of my idols. When I was younger he did a bunch of marathons and adventure races. Now he does Ironmans. When I get old enough to do one, we are going to do it together (P.S. he is going to eat my dust). My other idol is Steve Prefontaine. He owned all the world records from the 2,000 meter to the 10,000 meter. My favorite quote by his is “To do anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” I try to live by that quote every day.

One of the major events in my life is getting my first dog. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were at Thomas’ house and they told us about this dog that had just walked into their house. She didn’t have any chip and they couldn’t find her owners. They suggest we take her. It took some convincing, but we finally got my mom to let us try with her for a weekend. She was never returned after that weekend and she has been with us ever since. Lolo is her name and she is six now. She is the best and most loving dog ever. Lolo has taught me how to be responsible.

My first triathlon is one of the best events I have ever done in my life. It was at Bay St. Louis and we went camping for it. Both my parents and Cody were there to support me the entire way. The day before the race was extremely nerve-racking. The day before I did a 17-mile bike ride to make sure I was ready. The next day I woke up at 5:00 am and ate some breakfast. It was hard to eat because I was so nervous. Next, I got dressed and we drove down to the start line. I got checked in and went into the water to warm up. Before I knew it, the gun went off and I started the swim. Then I got out of the water and went to the transition area to get my bike. The bike was 14 miles. It was extremely windy, but I pushed through. The run was by far the hardest event. I had already swam 800 meters and biked 14 miles through the wind and all that was left was to run a 5k. It was really hot, but I did pretty well. I finished in a time of 1:33:25. I got 33rd overall and 2nd in my age group. Doing that triathlon taught me I could do anything I put my mind to. It also taught me to keep pushing. I hope to do another triathlon soon and get an even better time than before.

Another event that changed my life was going to the Junior Olympics last year in Reno, Nevada. We did a lot of training for it, but nothing could prepare us for running in those conditions. We got to Reno two days before the race so we could get used to the elevation. The next day we walked the course and what we saw was not good. There was snow on the ground a day before the race! The course was completely iced over when we walked it. We found out this was going to be an extremely tough race. After we walked our course, we got to play in the snow. It was fun for a while until our gloves got really wet and made our fingers cold. Finally, after about an hour, we went back to the hotel to take showers and go to bed. The next day it was under 30°F and cloudy! This made me very nervous. So nervous that I didn’t want to eat. When we got to the course, I warmed up and went to the tent with the other racers. It was nerve-racking, but the race started and ended before I knew it. It took a lot of hard work to finish, but I finally did. We didn’t do that well, but it was a fun learning experience. That race taught me I have to get out of my own head and just run. I will be more prepared next year.

I hope to go to college at Oregon and run on one of the best teams there at Oregon. They are also one of the best in the nation. Hopefully, while I am running track for college I will qualify for the Olympics in the mile. I hope I can get a medal. I don’t care if it’s a gold, silver, or bronze. That is what I hope to do in the future.

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