Never in my wildest dreams would I've thought 12 kids would qualify for the State Track Meet. I figured I'd just throw the 2 or 3 in my car that qualified and drive them down there. Well, it's turned into a full-blown trip.
Thursday night, I was nervous beyond belief. I already had to scratch one runner from each of the relays- boys AND girls 4x100, both for not meeting attendance requirements to practice this week. We, shockingly, did NOT leave on time, and I arrived 10 minutes late to the coaches' meeting. Par for the course on that. We got ready for the first event 4x100. The girls ran first and there were 2 heats. We were in the 1st heat. I really love this group of girls b/c they are so young and just downright funny. They are like the little daughters I never had, always laughing and joking. One note, though, they've been working their BUTTS off for this relay. I knew it would be a long shot for them to qualify, as you had to be in the top 6. And they were OFF. First and 2nd runners were a bit behind, 8th (last) place, but my 3rd runner started to make ground and moved up to 7th. Hand offs were successful! Last girl was sprinting her heart out, never letting up, passed at the last moment to squeeze into 6th pace. She did all this in regular HEAVY tennis shoes shoes, all 4 of them did. The girls were really excited, but I had to squelch their excitement b/c the next heat still had to run. I had a feeling we had it in the bag after watching the next heat, but wanted to hear the announcement first. Sure enough, we squeezed in there for 6th place! We were all hugging, screaming, squealing, and laughing. Who would've thought a team of 8th and 9th graders that couldn't even hold the baton in January would make the state meet? Awesome. On to the boys' 4 x 100. I threw together a 'scrap' team for this relay and wasn't expecting much. To my surprise, there were only 7 teams running, scaring me into possible last-place embarrassment. Sure enough, we got last place, BUT the 6th place team dropped the baton! It's so mean to relish in another team's disappointment, but I let the kids have their moment of glory anyway. LOL.
We had a few disappointments yesterday and today. One of my distance guys got 7th(!!!) in TWO events. I felt really bad for him, as he is one of my super-hard workers. Of course, last year, he would've never had a chance of qualifying as an individual. Charlene* ran a PR, as did my Puking Mile Boy. Charlene PRed by 3 seconds in the 400, but got 11th place. Mile Boy broke the mark for taking one MINUTE off his first race of the season. He went from 6:24 in Feb. to 5:24 yesterday, but only 13th place.
My sprinters did great, but only 2 made it to the finals today, and only one of them qualified for State. My jumping guy qualified in two events, too. The real heartbreak happened today with Hurdler Girl. Of all the girls on the team, I feel especially close to her. We had a big storm early this morning and she texted me at 4:20 a.m., asking, "Miss Becky, are we still going?" How can you not just LOVE that? She got 6th in the javelin, but didn't meet the minimum marks for the State Meet. After that, she did her hurdle thing. The track was a bit wet, and she did not have track shoes, just regular running shoes. She sailed past the 100 mark of the 300 hurdles, in 6th place of her heat and then the unthinkable happened. She slipped and tripped. Amazingly, she recomposed and would not give up. She slowed remarkably then, and I could tell something was bad wrong. She could hardly clear the next hurdles. She hung in there, regaining speed to make 7th place, collapsing at the finish line in a heap of tears. Her knee, she had hurt her knee. It's one of those feelings where you watch someone you care about in pain and you just want to take it all away, but can do nothing. Someone helped me move her off the track, and she just kept crying and holding her knee. I went and sat down by her, feeling like crying and puking myself. For some reason, I felt guilty, guilty for pushing her all those practices. Weird feelings.
After that, I think we had some serious hurdle bad luck. Our next two hurdler guys ALSO slipped and lost their rhythm on those wretched hurdles. I'll blame the rain, I guess. Mix that with nerves and you've got a problem situation.
Those are the main things from yesterday and today's meet that stick out. 12 kids will be attending the State Meet, but I do have one slight problem. We don't have enough money to go. Hmph. I honestly did not think THIS many would qualify. See we will have to pay entry, bus, bus driver, hotel, mine and Coach D's subs for our classrooms and likely kids' food. I truly believe that God will work all things out that are meant to be. My plan is to check on our actual financial status, then beg for the rest. Also, Coach D can only go Friday, so I need to get a chaperone in order, too, a man to watch the boys. I also have ONE day to work out all this. LOL. I am leaving Tuesday morning to go to Montgomery for the State Department of Education thing, where I will be staying until Thursday night, revising the State Test. So... help?
I will wait until after State Meet to reflect on the season as a whole, but I do want to say a few things. This team really, really taught me a lesson about goal-setting and keeping the faith. Unfortunately, my own life circumstances, running and personal have left me feeling less than faithful. It is difficult to admit the loss of that certain *spirit* I used to have thriving inside of me. I totally talked the talk with the kids, always encouraging the kids, telling them never give up on their goals, blah, blah, blah, but in my mind... not so much. I *knew* I should say those things to them, but I didn't really believed it fully. I even had a parent tell me one time that her son would *never* qualify for state. While he didn't qualify, seeing the No Quit Attitude was inspiring. While there are lazy children everywhere, there are also kids with major heart and spirit. It's a lesson of the underdogs. What relay team can contain only 8th and 9th graders, show up in basketball shoes, not use a starting block, and qualify for state? My team can, that's who.