What can I say right now besides WOW. Last week if I would've posted on my track team's progress and my feelings about the group of youth, it would not have been pretty. Last week I was frustrated, actually YELLED (screamed) at them for the first time all season. I felt like they had quit on me mentally and physically. Luckily, this week turned over a new leaf.
One thing that I am really loving right now is that the athletes and I are becoming closer. We talk about stuff, enjoy each other's company, and a lot of them make me laugh. In general, I like them. A lot.
We got a rocky start on Tuesday, as I got to the middle school and had a little frustrating experience encountering one of two people on Earth I can absolutely NOT stand. I was a little flustered, but we were on our way to race at a country school with similar talent (or so I thought) as us. We were late, and all the bleacher seats were FULL. We found a nice seat on the grass, and right away they started throwing and jumping events. It was SUPER windy, so we weren't expecting much.
Then we had the usual situation where the hosting school doesn't have enough timers and I was forced to time. I really hate doing this. Not the actual timing, but I feel like it takes away from my coaching. I would much rather spend my time watching only MY athletes and offering encouragement, but whatever. I knew we would be golden on the jumping events, as we have a guy that can SOAR, likely will be in the top finishers in the state (for 4A). The running events started, and that's when I started noticing that we were placing in the top 6 a lot. We didn't have too many first places, but a strong showing on places 2-6 (point-scoring slots). After the first 8 events, they announced that we were in first place. Whhhhaaaatttt?????? We still had the distance events to go, and I knew this wasn't our strong suit. We soon moved to 2nd and were able to hold it the WHOLE night!
Here are a few of our best moments-
Hurdler girl finally got to compete, but she came in last. I was sooooo proud of her, as it was close and she cleared every hurdle without even so much as tapping one. Side note about her- she is the only person that calls me "Becky". Many of the athletes call me Coach Becca or Coach J. She calls me "Miss Becky." Normally that name would totally aggravate me, but this girl is so special, cute, funny that I just love it. After her race she says, "Miss Becky, I know I sucked and came in last, but that was FUN!" LOL.
Two crazy sprinters (that I think are hilarious) had a little wager on the 300 hurdles. Before the race, they kept begging me to place a bet on one of them. I KNEW who would win, but I kept quiet the whole race. They both ended up placing in the top 4.
One of my slower distance runners broke 6 for the first time in the mile. This was a HUGE goal of his; so that was very exciting to watch. Also, the 2 mile race ROCKED. One of my distance guys alternates between the mile and two mile. His cousin went to one of the competing schools and he was really wanting to beat him. We discussed strategy all week and I felt like had a great chance of meeting his goal. He also wanted to break 11, and I felt like he had a good chance at this, too. In the first 400 cousin took the lead, but my guy fell right behind. The strategy was to let the cousin pace the group for the first mile, then reevaluate. He followed that to a "T" and for some reason fell back on lap 5. I shouted at him to get back on his shoulder and stay as close as possible until he felt like he could pass for good. (I thought he was fading.) I was keeping track of the time, too, to help pace him for his sub 11. He was 5 seconds off pace, so this worried me. When 2 laps remained, he passed his cousin, on the straight-away JUST like I taught them. Cousin fell in behind and stayed close. My guy picked it up at the start of the final lap, but so did cousin. Then cousin passed and my guy fell WAY back. I thought he was done, until the last 200 when my guy just started sprinting his guts out, passing in the last 50 meters for the overall win!!!!! Man, very exciting stuff.
In Eagle fashion, the team was there to cheer for the whole thing, and I was ever grateful for their camaraderie. We got on the bus and did the usual passing of my cell phone to call parents. I overheard one gal talking to her mom, "Mamma, we're, like, getting good at running!" Yep, I couldn't of said it better myself.