Monday, May 22, 2017

Life As A Track Mom

I spent seven years as a soccer mom and two years as a cross country mom, but nothing about either of those roles prepared me for being a track mom.  I've watched soccer games in the snow, in the rain, in the blazing heat, and in the middle of mosquito swarming season.  I have watched cross country meets in the rain and in the heat, slapping off mosquitoes.

Watching David's soccer game in a sleet storm

I found soccer to be fun, mostly because my kids were part of the homeschool soccer league and many of their friends were also on their teams.  Meaning I got to hang out with the parents and catch up.

Soccer on a really hot day

Cross country I found to be a little less than...thrilling.  They run on courses that take them through fields and woods, most of which are out of sight, so you stand around for twenty or so minutes while your child is running, and you catch maybe three glimpses of them between the start and finish lines.  But the good thing about cross country is that the meets are short.

This spring I became a track mom.  Nothing I have ever done as a mother adequately prepared me for what it means to be a track mom.  The meets are not local.  Local meets are for weaklings.  No, David's meets require waking up early on a Saturday morning and driving a minimum of an hour and a half across the state to parts of Michigan that we have never seen before.

You must pack food, large quantities of food, because track meets are long.  Not a few hours long, but a few hundred hours long.  At a track meet, time literally stands still.  Or at least that is how it feels.  After you think that you have already been there for an eternity, you look at your phone and realize that it's only been five minutes.  You think about crying.  You sit there on a hard bleacher for hours and hours, waiting in between the various races that your child is competing in.  Which means that depending on the events your child is in, you could sit there for 4-8 hours, just to see your child run for a total of 1-2 minutes.

Notice the hate, 2 hoodies, and blanket--track meet--still cold

Track meets can be cold.  Bone-numbingly cold.  David's first track meet lasted more than seven hours (and that does not count the field events that happened earlier in the morning that David mercifully did not choose to participate in).  I had on a shirt, two hoodies, a winter hat, gloves, wool socks, and wrapped myself in two blankets.  I was still cold.  I lost feeling in my legs and feet.  My nose nearly froze off.  I contemplated strangling the people running the track meet for being so inefficient.  But I made it through the event and decided this would be the last season David was allowed to do track.

The second meet was overcast but warmer and mercifully, shorter.  We were only there for a little under four hours.  By the time the track meet was over, I still had feeling in all my extremities so I considered it a success.

The third meet was a lot like the second.  Except this time the sun came out.  Of course I did not factor in the need for sunscreen.  After four hours of sitting in on and off again sun, my face looked like a tomato.  Lesson learned.  But at this meet, David actually made the cut to run in the 100 meter dash final.  First there are the prelims where all the kids competing in the 100m event race in heats.  The top 8 runners move on to the final race.  David ultimately fell in the final, but it was exciting to see him do well.

Which brings me to his final meet.  David's relay team made the cut to go to the State finals for the 4x100m relay.  The meet is an hour and a half away.  As we were driving home from his meet this past weekend, it dawned on me.  We will be spending three hours in the car to go to a track meet where we will sit and wait just to see David run in a race that lasts about 1 minute, his part being about 15 seconds.  Yes, we will be driving three hours to see David run for 15 seconds.

Thus is the life of a track mom.


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