Saturday, February 25, 2017

How hard could it be?

But I was no Kenyan.  Our team was a collection of all sorts of individuals wanting to try something new.  Shop jocks, battered football players, and guys typically at the wrong end of the pecking order made up the roster.  Our coach was a young guy who's job was to watch over students serving suspensions.  Essentially no one had a clue, so we jogged a few miles and did wind sprints.  After two weeks of this, I could see Fred (a senior who ran the 880 in track and last name was McMurray) and I were probably the better runners because of our speed.  We would run our first dual meet against Union HS on their course.  All day at school I had butterflies thinking about the upcoming race.  I'm sure the newness of it all played a part, but I was more jacked up over the pain one had to face.  If the two weeks taught me anything it was to be up front meant to suffer.  I did not want to fail.

Flying your HS colors is an awesome honor.  The year is '76 and soon I will turn 15 years old.  I'd grown up watching all the older neighborhood kids play varsity.  Now it was my turn and as we walked over the course at Union it occurred to me that 3 miles was a long way to sprint.  That's the only strategy we basically knew.  Go out with the leaders and stay up front as long as you can.  It was that simple.  I tied my white Puma sprinters spikes to my feet and got ready to strap it down.  No advice, no pep talk, no strategy discussion on what was about to take place.  In modern terms, "Grip it and rip it."

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