February 24, 2010

More Than Just Small Town Rednecks

My kids have heart. Let me rephrase that- My ATHLETES have heart!!!!!!! I'm so relieved. Of all the things to worry about, racing without passion seems to be the worst. So, mission accomplished on the racing with feeling thing.

I hope no one takes this in an elitest snob way, but our school is filled with 'country' kids. I will readily admit that it was a little (well, a lot) intimidating to arrive at a GIANT school with an 8 lane track. We unloaded the kids and filed into the stadium to see our opposing teams. Funny thing that I was so proud of our numbers prior to yesterday. We were by FAR the smallest team there. Furthermore, where and how to these kids get all this fancy gear? Name brand uniforms w/ fancy shoes and matching wind suit. Yeah, some of our kids run in walmart converse sneakers or their school shoes. It was at that point where I went from hoping we would place in an event to hoping we wouldn't get totally embarrassed. The sad thing is, I honestly know the kids were scared. They looked sooooo nervous and I could see many of them watching me to see my reaction to all this fancy-schmancy track hubbub. I remained cool, calm, and collected, but inside I wanted to puke from nervousness.

We got on with the meet, though! Here's a basic rundown of highlights-

My distance boys worked their BUTTS off last night. Two kids ran 400M PRs, and it's only the first meet! So, that shows our training is doing something! Yipeee! One of my mile boys had to drop out of the mile. He was puking into his hands and it was blue gatorade. I pulled the plug on his race. No one wants to see that, nor should someone have to be embarrassed like that.

The 100M boys did pretty well. That's my most experienced group of athletes. The sprinter girls didn't do too bad either, but I did notice that some of the athletes from other schools had their hands over the line while in the starting blocks. (I'm a rule follower, so this bothered me, as I've trained my athletes to do the same.)

The girls' 4x400 relay was hilarious. Every member of the relay team was a first-timer. We went over again where to stand and how to hand off. All went smoothly on the hand-offs, but Runner 2 stayed in her lane the whole time. Ooppps. We were all yelling too, but she was in the zone. Haha.

The only time I got mad during the night was with the boys' 4x100m. Last week, we practiced hand offs and going through the motions of the relay. The hard-headed 100M runners SWORE they got it and weren't taking practice very seriously. Well, this came back to bite us in the butt.

Runners 1 & 2 ran with no incident. When Runner 2 was about to finish Runner 3 was nowhere to be in sight! I was screaming for him and finally he ran out at the very last second, but Runner 2 smashed into Runner 3 and we lost at least 3 seconds during the transition. I was pretty ill about that.

Areas to grow-
1. Develop hurdlers. This can help us gain points in the meets. Also, we can start them young so they will be success full in high school.
2. I think the training is good for 400 and 800 meter races, but we struggled in the mile and 2 mile. I need to help them build endurance.
3. Practice, practice, practice relay hand offs, even if the boys don't feel like it.

Areas of success-
1. Yesterday made me realize how underprivileged we are, yet we are rising above it. One school there had SIX track coaches. Another team had 4 paid and 2 volunteers! Wowzers. Just the shoes, the facility, the supplies, EVERYTHING was nicer. Scary nice, almost.
2. Our athletes raced hard and did their best. Their behavior was good. Some other teams were running around acting crazy during the meet, but our school team was just sitting quietly, or cheering each other on.
3. The athletes supported each other. When my miler was puking, his teammate was getting his water and patting him on the back. They held each others long sleeves while one was racing. They told each other good job and gave high fives.

I will say that I am absolutely PETRIFIED, scared witless, for next Saturday. We are participating in one of the biggest track meets in LA, held at the NICEST private high school in Mobile. This team is phenomenal. After the meet last night, the kids were begging to stop at McDonald's. It was too late, so we told them maybe next time. We were talking about the next high school meet and the girls started begging for me to take them to the mall after the meet. (Our nearest mall is an hour + away.)Haha- girls after my own heart...

Tomorrow is the first middle school meet. It should be fun!


  1. Anonymous2/24/2010

    congrats on the meet! you have every reason to be proud and happy with it. i think that given all the obstacles youve had to overcome this is a HUGE accomplishment. like, astronomical. and i hope that youre athletes can see that they are talented and amazing kids. and that they have an amazing coach who cares about them!!

  2. This got me all vaclempt. If heart could win races or give an award for best coach, you and your team would be flying high. Girl, I just love what you're doing, it's beyond cool, it's special. I hate that the other schools are so fancy and rich, it's like so many movies of the lesser kids having to fight the richies, but you know...the lesser kids always end up the winners and if nothing else, what they're learning from you is making them so. I want to go to the mall with you all. Keep up the amazing work, Ms. Huge Heart.

  3. Anonymous2/25/2010

    Thought you might like this article about Bonnie Richardson, a small town gal who won a Texas HS team track title... by herself. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1160517/index.htm

  4. Awww, this made me miss track so much! Reminds me a little of my team when I was in school. It just made me so happy to read this because I can tell that you're giving them more out of the experience than those fancy-schmancy schools are (that's how I felt about my experience--I wouldn't trade it for anything).

  5. YAY! Your post really put a smile on my face. Congratulations to your athletes. And it's only the beginning of the season!

  6. Anonymous2/27/2010

    Yay!! Thanks for the post, I could visualize the whole thing! I wish we could be there to cheer you guys on! It sounds like an exciting time. You are giving those kids memories that last a lifetime!


  7. Great first meet by your athletes, LAR, and that must feel fabulous as a coach. They're going to have the fire in their bellies to work hard now that they've had the experience of a track meet, and you're THE perfect coach to train them, and teach them not to be intimidated by well-moneyed competitors. Well done.