Sometimes, it's cool to stand out in a crowd.
Other times, it's fun just to blend in with everybody else.
Michael Bobos can appreciate both perspectives.
The Valparaiso senior is one of only about 100 people in the United States who have been diagnosed with monogenetic diabetes. Bobos met with the group, comprised largely of infants, during a July convention at the University of Chicago.
What makes Bobos unique, in reality, is also what actually makes him normal. For 14 years, he was believed to have been born with Type 1 diabetes, a condition most people develop later in life, and wore an insulin pump.
"In middle school, when my blood sugar would get really low, it would get scary in the middle of races," Bobos said.
After testing, his endocrinologist, Dr. Louis Philipson, discovered that Bobos actually had monogenetic diabetes rather than Type 1. Eight daily pills -- which help Bobos' body produce its own insulin by increasing the potassium in his pancreas cells -- replaced the pump. It was a tradeoff he was thrilled to make.
"It was like a ball and chain," Bobos said of the pump. "All I did was count everything (I ate). Now I have nothing attached to me. I'm just like every other kid. It's a fluke thing. I'm real lucky. All I have to worry about is ... cross country. It made me appreciate life more."
Bobos also appreciates running more, now being able to do it without concern of a diabetic episode. One of just two seniors in the Vikings' top seven, his age and personal experiences provide a positive perspective for talented, but youthful squad.
"We've got a ton of young guys and they're all phenomenal," Bobos said. "We have a lot of fun together. We all hang out. I just basically try to tell them how hard work pays off, not to worry what others say. They've all learned fast. We're all pushing each other."
A runner on last year's state-qualifying team, Bobos had a strong track season and carried the momentum into the summer.
"A lot of people doubted me," he said. "I was really motivated. I wanted to beat everybody."
Instead of taking his usual week or two break, Bobos kept on training and never stopped.
"I was telling him, I don't know if he's missed 10 days (since) state track," coach Mike Prow said. "He's never used (diabetes) as a crutch or asked to take it easy. He's finally gained a good amount of consistency. That's been his main problem. He hadn't been able to put it all together."
The way Bobos figured, it was now or never.
"It's my senior year. I want to go out with a bang," he said. "We're all kind of mad about finishing 19th at state. That's not very good. We want to go to state and actually do something -- finish in the top five. We're trying to push for that. I'm really excited."