Track & Field Notes

I spent much of Thursday and Friday evenings at a track & field meet, as my 17-year-old son Riley is a member of his school’s sprint team.

As it was my first extended time at such a meet, I had some to reflect on the sport and the people in it:

1) It’s no wonder track & field has never really caught on as a spectator sport. If you’re watching, you wait . . . and wait . . . and wait. The action comes in short bursts that serve mostly to interrupt the waiting. Having learned my lesson on Thursday, I brought two books on Friday.

2) The difference in body-type between the sprinters and distance runners is striking. The sprinters are almost all football players trying to develop their speed for next fall. So they have crew cuts, barrel chests, and massive shoulders. The distance runners look like I did at 17: long, stringy hair that in a weird way mirrors their long, stringy bodies.

3) It’s very difficult to figure out who is winning the high jump and long jump competitions. Watching it on TV helps to make sense of it.

4) I suppose I should find some theological meaning or parallel to all of this, but I can’t without having to stretch the point just a little too far.

I have to admit, though, that watching Riley sprint brings a sense of both pride and wonder. It was only a few years ago that I overheard him describe himself as “the slowest, clumsiest kid in the world.”

Well, not anymore.

And that’s the kind of revelation that is well worth the wait.