The Road to Excellence: Alex Sims

A Story of Hard Work and Rap Music


Life isn’t unicorns and rainbows. You don’t just float on clouds from place to place, unless, of course, those clouds are composed of a mixture of sweat, tears, and amazing lyrics. To put it frankly, the only path to excellence is through hard work and rap music.

Junior Alex Sims is quite familiar with excellence.

There are only seven George Ranch runners to ever make it to the state level, and he is one of them. As a varsity cross-country runner, he has been to the top, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t remember what it is like to be at the bottom.

Once upon a time, Sims was just a thirteen year old kid who wanted to get in shape before basketball tryouts.

“I used to almost come in last every race, and I used to cry a lot because I just wasn’t good,” said Sims.

After not making the basketball team, he ran up to his room, locked his door and didn’t come out for the rest of the night. He still got up early every day and ran with the cross country team, but still he found himself looking at the backs of the people in front of him.

“It was the same thing in eighth grade, too. But when I got to high school I was really sick of being that guy in the back of the pack, and I was sick of watching people be faster than me,” said Sims. “So I just started working really hard, and I just worked until I got to the spot that I wanted.”

But for Sims, the spot where he wanted to be kept moving. Once he reached it, there was always another spot 13.1 miles away. He wasn’t content with being mediocre, or good, or great; he wanted something more.

“I wanted to be good in the eyes of my peers and my teammates and my coach … but now I feel I want some recognition on the state level and I want to be in magazines and newspapers. And I’ve achieved that success to an extent, but I’m still striving to be a name that people know when they think of cross country. [When] they think about the sport, I want them to think of Alex Sims.”

He knows excellence, but for him excellence isn’t enough. In the language of George Ranch athletics Sims is hungry, not only for success, but for progression. It is widely accepted that the universe moves forward and outward, so every moment spent standing still is a chance for someone to pass you by.

However, work ethic like this doesn’t just appear out of thin air. Sims has a multitude of examples that he draws from. His dad is an executive business man with “a sense of excellence about him” and his mom is a successful employee at United Airlines. The one person he admires the most is Olympic distance runner Mo Farrah.

“He really wants to strive and become the best he can be by working as hard as he can, and letting nothing stop his work ethic,” said Sims, “And I really see myself as that kind of athlete.”

But, surely no one can have such an unfailing path towards progression? That is another secret ingredient to Sims’ path to success. Rap.

If you ask any distance runner they will say their sport is just as much as a mental one as a physical one. When Sims came back from the state competition he said that the entire race he was repeating “Madd City” by Kendrick Lamar in his head.

“There are two reasons I like rap music. If you are feeling down, listen to a with a song with a lot of bass and it just gets you in a good mood again, it gets you pumped to go through the rest of your day,” said Sims. “Then you have a lot of chill songs if you just want to sit around and think
about stuff or do homework.”

Rap is the power source that gives life to his drive. When he is feeling bad all he has to do is listen to Kendrick Lamar and he feels better, “because he’s real. He’s says it how it is.”

Or if he wants to calm down he can listen to Drake; even if “people say he’s the softest rapper in the game.”

When Sims isn’t playing Smash Brothers with friends or going Black Friday shopping at six in the morning, he is working toward excellence.

Excellence is shaped by hard work and rap music.

At least for Alex Sims it is.