We Was Robbed

I posted last Monday of my introduction to the world of high school track & field competition.

Well, this past Saturday, Riley and teammates travelled to the Cary Academy near Raleigh for the state meet. Riley runs the opening leg of the 4 x 200 relay race — an event full of football players turned sprinters.

Anyway, his team won the race. He started well, the second and third legs did their part, and the young man who runs the anchor is blazing fast, so they won the race.

The serendipity that my son who only a few years earlier had labelled himself “the slowest & clumsiest kid on the planet” was now state champion in a sprint event was pretty overwhelming.

But then when the announcer invited the three top finishing teams to the awards podium to receive their medals, Riley’s team was not among them. With my eyes I’d just seen them win the race and heard the first announcement that they were in fact champions.

It turns out they’d been disqualified.

For what? Performance enhancing drugs? No.

A lane violation? No.

Super-fast yet illegal running shoes? No.

An infraction passing the baton? No.

They were disqualified because their jerseys didn’t match.

Not that their jerseys were superior aerodynamically and gave them an advantage. Just that they didn’t match exactly. Two of the guys wore jerseys from 2009 and two others from 2010.

Riley took it well because his emotional investment is heavier in football.

Me? Not so well. I know so little about the sport that I’m not familiar with the what and the why of the different rules.

But something in me feels like some large thing was taken for some small reason.