Saturday, September 13, 2008


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So, have you ever been to a high school cross country meet? I hadn't until recently, and I am enlightened on yet another sport's quirks. I've never been to a golf tournament either, but I think I gather, for the first time, how the crowd moves to optimum watching spots during the course of the game. Fortunately, I am not shy to ask about such things to strangers as the experienced mothers of other runners explained where exactly to stand or walk to catch a glimpse of the young people as they plow by huffing and pouring sweat. Some runners look completely composed, while others look like it may be their last moment among the living.

On rainy or muddy days, the runner's bottom halves become spattered with polka dots and splashes of muck feet to thigh as they clomp down the natural worn paths.

The real shocker of the event comes at the end. I observed an interesting man, just past the finish line, who had a very specific job. His sole purpose was to grab fainting runners by the arm and force them to remain upright until the faltering athletes made it to the open field some distance away from the finish. Otherwise, the next strong finishers would have had to leap over a dog pile of entirely exhausted bodies. And yet another surprise awaited spectators in the open field just past the end- many of the runners threw up (oh, yes, everywhere) and collapsed in an pained heap at the next available spot in the grass. I watched one young man wheeze and gasp in an asthmatic attack limping about with his mother. It all reminded me of the some kind of strange steaming battlefield minutes after the conclusion of a relentless attack- all moaning and agony.

Makes me curious about the completion of the Boston Marathon. Is it a wall of ambulances rushing fatigued and half dead people off toward oxygen and ice baths? At least marathoners get pavement instead of turf.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks for commenting on my blog. Great points! You're much smarter and deeper than I. :-) I do hope she's called to this task, and I, too, trust that God will provide.
~Deb

Anonymous said...

P.s. I'm sure all those commas were incorrectly placed. Just ingnore them.

truevyne said...

Dear Deb,
You are one of the most sensitive, thoughtful, and kind people I know. You have valuable points and things to say. Thanks for being brave enough to do so.

almostgotit said...

My daughter chose not to do x-country this year. It is a ridiculous thing, having x-country in the South in the hottest part of the year, with practices after school in the HOTTEST part of the day too -- so that, yes, my daughter's chief association with the whole affair was feeling nauseous nearly 100% of the time. It's called being too hot and dehydrated. We're just not hard-core enough in our family to find any of this rewarding. It certainly wasn't enjoyable, either to participate in or to watch!

truevyne said...

Almost! I totally get that!

Anonymous said...

Oh, the things our children lead us into....I too am becoming immersed in a new sport that I have never had the slightest interest in: soccer. I have spent the past two weekends watching my daughter get absolutely pounded on the field. I had no idea it was that rough, but I have decided the problem isn't that the other players are being unusually hard on her, it's that she is utterly fearless. She is taller but much lighter than most of the other players, but doesn't hesitate to plunge into the fray. Two plays in a row she ended up tangled up with a girl (who must have outweighed her by 40 lbs)who knocked her down and fell on her. I could hear the wind going out of her lungs from the other side of the field. OK, maybe that was my imagination. But she just jumped up and kept going. I wanted to ask the opposing coach, "MUST you always put your largest player guarding my kid?" Like you, I spent the games drilling the guy next to me for info on what the different plays & penalties meant. Here we go, leading parallel lives again.
College Kat