Kids Who Run- And the Mothers who Freeze While Watching Them
Parenting has never been easy, but I used to think that the coldest and mind numbingest part of the job was attending softball games in the North Country. I know I have previously railed about the shortage of the joys of Spring in this part of the country, and no where is this more apparent then when you are sitting on the cold metal bleachers at a High School Softball game in April.
Of course, I should mention that High School softball is a big improvement from ModifiedSoftball. In my daughter’s first modified softball game, she went up to bat four times.
In the first inning.
It was walk city as parents waited patiently for pitch after terrible pitch. It was hard to maintain the spectator enthusiasm and we all secretly wished for someone to get hit by a pitch, just to give us some variety. Every once in a while, a bat would actually connect with a ball and chaos would ensue as a series of bad throws propelled the batter through all four bases. Some girl was always crying on the bench. Perhaps because they struck out or didn’t get to start. One time, a girl got a nasty splinter from the decades old bench and there was some excitement as she was carted off to the ER.…
However, a new fresh Hell emerged for me this week. In my cold misery as a Softball mom, I had been blissfully unaware of the plight of the parents of the Track and Field athletes. I was about to learn, though.
Yes, my youngest threw us all a curve ball this Spring, announcing that she has decided to deviate from our family’s longstanding history with the softball program and go out for Track.
I offered the requisite support, buying track shoes and running shoes and various necessary apparel. But I have to admit, I have never understood the desire to run. In my mind, there are only three simple reasons why you would do so:
- You are being chased by a predator.
- You must find a hiding spot before the Principal asks you to chaperone something.
- There is a 40% off sale at Ann Taylor.
Honestly, I can see no other reason to run. But, I am a mother and that entails supporting your child even when you don’t understand.
And there is a lot I don’t understand about Track Meets. I pretended I understood when I arrived at the first meet and other parents told me she was in the 4 by 8 and the 4 by 4. These sounded like measurements I would give my carpenter, but they are apparently forms of relays.
I sent my daughter the necessary encouraging text before her first meet. Of course, I had no knowledge of advice to give so I just texted “Good Luck! Try to run…like, really fast.” I included an emoji of a lightning bolt, so that probably helped.
I had been thinking races would be exciting, but this is not always the case. Apparently, if you have to run around the track more than once, there needs to be some strategy involved. Therefore, the runners appear as though they are not in a terrible hurry in lap one, so they can reserve some energy for the end. As a spectator, I wasn’t really sure just how excited I should be in each lap.
Did you know that in one event, the runners have to go around the track 7 times? This is what that sounded like from the crew of nice moms I hung out with:
Lap One: “Go, Go! Emily, go!”
Lap Two: “ Keep it up, Em! Stay strong!”
Lap Three: “ Then, I said- Yay…good job, almost half way there!- I am not going to go there, Bob. We talked about this!”
Lap Four: “So, did you see the chicken breasts at Price Chopper this week…oh, Good job, Em!”
Lap Five: “Oh, you mean on The Good Wife? I so saw that one coming…”
Lap Six: “That reminds me, were you ever able to find a good proctologist for your dad? I know some people said that Dr. Steinmen…”
Lap Seven: “Oh, you’re telling me, when I had my first colonoscopy…Oh, they’re done! Yay, Emily! So, who won?”
Only in Track can you leave and not know if you actually won. In fact, no one really seems concerned about the Team score. This does make for a kinder, gentler audience. There was one Dad who yelled to his daughter “Pull your skirt up, Nancy! Run like you stole something!” but that was as bad as it got. And that man was given dirty looks from the Chicken Breast crew.
You have to build bonds with people if you are going to sit on a cold metal bench in 40 degree weather for four hours to watch your kid run for about 2 minutes.
That kind of thing takes stamina, but it’s just one more of those things we do for the kids we love…
At least nothing like this happened. Yet.
That pole vault…nasty stuff. Steer your kid away from that business…
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