Ben Comen Interview
Photos by Tim Dominick, courtesy of The State Newspaper
KR: What makes it FUN for you?
Ben: It's fun to have everybody there on the XC course supporting you.
Notes: Ben drags one of his legs when he runs and he lags behind the others. His teammates and siblings finish then come back to run in with him. When he first joined the team, his twin brother, Alex, would appear at different points on the course to watch out for him and cheer him on.
KR: When was the time you came the closest to quitting?
Ben: I don't think there ever was a day I wanted to quit. Several days I hurt a lot, but I knew there would always be another chance.
Notes: Falling is something that Ben must deal with when running. But when he falls, he gets right back up and keeps running.
KR: How can we help children "fit in"?
Ben: Don't hold them back. If they want to try, let them try.
KR: What's your favorite running gear?
Ben: I like my XC T-shirts. I also like to wear my XC varsity jacket.
KR: What would you say to young people to get them to participate in athletics?
Ben: If it's something you want to do, then do it.
KR: What if no one from your team had ever run back to be with you on the course?
Ben: They didn't at first. My brother would appear at different spots on the course to look out for me, but sometimes when I was by myself on an unfamiliar course it could be easy to get lost. At one point my coach got worried and told some kids to come out to find me. Another coach told him that he had already done that. The first time I saw them coming it scared me, because I thought that they (or I) could be disqualified if they paced me or assisted me across the finish, but then I found out it was okay. But even if they didn't come, I think I would probably have stuck with the team.
KR: What was your favorite book that you read as a kid?
Ben: I liked the Harry Potter series and I was always reading the Boxcar Kids when I was in elementary school. I liked to read adventure stories - chapter books.
KR: What's it like to be a twin?
Ben: Now this is a tough question. I've never known anything different. It's nice to have somebody with you. My brother has always helped me. He helps me carry my books. I have two sets of books - one set that I keep at home and one at school so that I don't have to carry them to and from school. My brother helps me carry my books between classes. It's a balance thing.
KR: What is your favorite healthy snack?
Ben: I like to eat raw carrots.
KR: What is going to be your major in college? Where do you want to go to school?
Ben: I am going to the Presbyterian College. I'm majoring in biology. I want to be a geriatric physician. When I was in the 9th grade I did community service in an assisted living program. I enjoyed working with senior citizens.
KR: What message would you like to give to our visitors?
Ben: If you have things you want to do - not to give up.
Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Lisa Bretz for introducing me to Ben through the ESPN special, to Tim Dominick ( Tim's article ) for the photos, and to Joan Comen for setting up this interview.
- Carol Goodrow, Editor