Sunday, September 18, 2011

Athletic Supporter: Cross Country

Maybe it's better to say sports fan rather than athletic supporter.

My oldest is in high school and I've been to two high school athletic events so far. What, you say, is this news? Well yes, in my case it is.

I spent my three high school years (9th grade was part of Jr. High in my school system) trying to avoid PE class and sports by any means possible. When it couldn't be avoided I did my best to melt into the background and steel myself for being the last person picked for a team, every single time. I was fast, when motivated (which rarely happened) but had no hand-eye coordination and no knowledge of how any of the games I was forced to play actually worked. Like I often say, if I knew I would have three athletic boys later in life, I would have paid a lot more attention in PE. I was not a part of an athletic team until college, which is not a usual place to start for most people. Call me a late bloomer.

My high school freshman is on the Cross Country team. I am learning about how this all works as an observer, and I have to admit it is pretty exciting.

Both meets have been over an hour away, which is a long way to go for such a short race. One was over in 17 minutes, 33 seconds (three miles). The second one was over in 12 minutes and 25 seconds (two miles). Or those were my son's times, and he has a medal from both races, coming in 1st for his school, 7th overall in his first race, and 2nd for his school and 2nd overall in the second race. That is part of why it's so exciting. The other part is that his school has dominated both meets. Hanging around, watching my son bonding with such a fast, fit and fiercely competitive group of boys is pretty fun too.

Things I have learned so far about Cross Country meets:
1. Leave early. If you are late you will miss the whole thing. Sometimes this can mean heroic driving.
2. If you are unfamiliar with the course, follow the parents with long-lense cameras running around.
Not all parents with big cameras look like this. She wins most stylish spectator.
3. Wear running shoes. You need them to watch runners.
4. If you are watching someone at the front of the pack, you might see the start and the middle, but they will beat you to the finish. If you want to see the finish you have to go directly from the start to the finish.
This photo is from the Earlybird Invitational in Salinas, taken about mid-way through the race.

First place freshman boy's team at the Earlybird Invitational

Medal winner in his first race
The start of the freshman race at the Lowell Invitational in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park 
The lead pack about half way through the race. I was excited to get this shot, but then I didn't make it to the finish in time!

Medal winner!

1 comment:

Amber said...

Another thing I learned: the results can change! Official results might say one thing one day, and another the next. My son went from second place to third and his time adjusted for some reason as yet unknown. I guess the timing chips aren't perfect.