A few of my track guys say that all the time. They will say it after they race, good or bad, or at the end of practice. I'm two days out from the conclusion of our season, and I'm left feeling some weird stuff.
Honestly, part of me feels a little free. This is first time all school year that I haven't had something to do right after school. (Of course, today we had a faculty meeting, but lol.) For the first half of the school year, I worked the after school math program our school offers. So... hello freedom!
I also feel extremely, extremely PROUD. I'm not going to break my arm patting myself on the back or anything, but... DANG, I accomplished a lot of stuff this school year! I have talked a lot about roller coaster emotions, but lately I seem to be at the top of the hill and rarely in the valleys. That's a big step for me, so YEAH!
The final part of me feels sort of sad. Yes, the kids drove me crazy sometimes, and I had to deal with some major pains in my butt, but in all, I really enjoyed myself out there. I also bonded with the little pesky teens. LOL.
By now you are wanting me to cut to the chase and talk about the state meet, so...
We left EARLY Friday morning and got to Gulf Shores an hour before the first event, the relays. Right off the bat, I got frustrated. They had all the relayers go into this waiting area, but they wouldn't let the coaches inside. My girls relay team had no idea what to do (since they had never been to state before) and were completely lost. Finally, I recruited an official to go FIND my group and help them out. The girls relay really held their own. I could tell they were freaked out beyond belief, but they did really well. Out of like twenty-something teams, they got 13th, so not too bad! The boys, on the other hand, yikes. Remember I put the scrap team in? Yeah, dumb idea. They got last. Like, dead last. It was pretty embarassing.
Friday afternoon my triple jumper did his thing. I really did not like the set up b/c they only had a very small waiting area for the coaches and you couldn't fully see what was going on. I had better luck in the stands. I watched the first two flights and he was jumping farther than ever before! One guy was sort of close, but no cigar. I felt sort of mean b/c every time one of his opponents would be at the line, I would think, "Please scratch, please scratch." He ended up WINNING STATE by 10 inches!!!!! He's a shy guy and I could hardly get him to smile afterwards. It was really exciting and I was very proud of him.
My hurdler made the finals in the 110 and competed in the final on Saturday. He scored 2nd in the prelims, so we knew a state championship was a possibility.
High jumper didn't jump too well. It was after the triple jump, and I think he was fatigued. He jumped 6'2", but that was good enough for 3rd in the state! Another awesome surprise!
That night we took the kids to the roach motel, aka Microtel and gave them some time to change clothes. I told them we could go to any restaurant they chose. You know where they wanted to eat? Cracker Barrell, lol. So, we went and they were all really well behaved. After that, they got to look around and shop at the outlet mall, mostly for the girls. Remember the mall story from our first track meet? After the mall, the *real* adventure for me began. They wanted to swim in the Microtel pool. Awesome. I want to say this, and I really hope everyone knows that I am the most unracist person you will ever meet in the south, but most black kids down here can't swim. Yeah, so I was a little concerned about all this pool talk. In fact, out of all the kids I took, only 3 could swim. Hm, I accompanied them to the pool to make sure no one drowned. Something really funny happened out there. The girls was splashing around and some boys from another school were standing there watching them. The girls were having fun, doing little cheerleading things in the water, racing each other, etc. Well, finally one of these guys comes over and starts asking one of my girls some questions. She answers and then swims off. The boy gets in the water with his friends and they start trying to flirt, etc with the girls. Finally one of my girls says, "Can you guys leave us alone? We're busy here." Baaahhhhaaaaaa! Thank goodness I taught them at least ONE thing. The rejected horomonal boys went back to their hotel room, and the girls went back to their cheerleading moves.
After that my boys got into the water, and thought it would be funny to splash me. That didn't last long. The pool closed and I sent the kids to their rooms with an 11:00 curfew. At 11:00 I checked to make sure all of them were in their rooms, and they weren't. I got everyone into the correct room and set up camp outside in the hall. I read some magazines, did a little texting, dozed off and on. Most importantly, I was THERE the 3 or 4 times the kids wanted to test the waters and see what was going on in the hallway. One guy went back in his room and I heard him say, "Coach wasn't joking about babysitting us. She's out there in the hall in her pajamas!" (I had told the kids I would be there.) Finally, at 2:00, I heard no more talking or noises, so I thought it was safe to doze off myself IN my bed. I did sleep with the door cracked, something I would normally NEVER do in a hotel. I thought that was for the best. Plus, I was so concerned, I couldn't really sleep soundly.
The next morning I got back from running and went to wake them up. The girls were out walking/running around the hotel! That was impressive! The boys were up, too, so that was nice. They were all on the bus and ready to go at the exact time I told them.
The hurdles race was first. I had a lot of trouble seeing. J got a good lane b/c of him fast time the day before. Not much to say about a 14 second race, but he won it! Immediately after he won it, they announced him as the winner AND a new state record for our school class!!!!!! Wowzers, awesomeness. He then turned around and competed in the 300 hurdles, but didn't have enough in him to win that.
When working with these teens, one thing I am constantly reminded of is how fortunate I was/am to have such supportive parents. You know how many parents went to the STATE track meet? Zero. Yep, none. It was only 2 hours from our house, too. Never in my life could I imagine my parents missing something like that. I kept thinking about that as J and B won their state titles. No family there to take their picture on the winner's podium, no family to hold their spikes, no family there to pat them on the back and tell them good job. It's just sad. I tried so hard to build them up after their events, all the kids really, but I wonder if they felt slighted by their parents. Or maybe they are so used to it that it doesn't bother them? All I know is that those kids, ALL of them, did awesome. Coming from where they come from, doing what they do, it's really something to be said about the underdog.
I know this post was a bunch of big rambles, and if you've hung in there this long, I'm really impressed. A lot of what I'm feeling can't be put into words, even though I tried. It's just something special that I'm really fortunate to be a part of. It's hard work, and it's a pain in the butt. Yet, it's worth it, every minute of hard work and every feeling of frustration has been worth it.