I've been fundraising and working and begging and talking about these track repairs. Actually it is singular- one repair, the 10 meters of concrete w/ the 390 meters of rubber for a year and a half.
We finally raised what I *thought* would be the majority of the money for the repair. After a year and a half of begging and whining, I finally got the okay from the Assistant Superintendent to get some estimates on the track repair. He also said that if we were a "tad" shy, the board would come up with some money, maybe a grand or two. So, I set to work calling and tracking down contractors that might could do this job. Most of them said that since the damaged part was filled w/ concrete, they wouldn't even touch it. Finally, I found a company that assured me they could do the work. So... I arranged the meeting at the track later in the week. (Today being the magic day.) I woke up to POUNDING rain, gully washing rain. I really hoped he wouldn't bail considering I had already arranged for the assistant superintendent and the principal to be out there, too.
I arrived at the school and go into the office to let the principal know that I am there. She was in a meeting and will "meet us out there in a few minutes." So, I go to the track and put my key into the lock to open the fence surrounding the track. In the process, I put my umbrella on the fence to shield my face while I am working w/ the lock. The umbrella falls to the other side, leaving me to get drenched. The.key.won't.work. THE.KEY.WONT.WORK. I'm standing there totally embarrassed in front of the contractor b/c 1)The head track coach can't even get INTO the track facility. 2) I am looking like a wet rat. 3)The assistant superintendent and the principal are NOT there.
(Sidebar- I'm a little irritated b/c K is the one that had given me the key. So, I'm thinking after all that has happened, the friggin' key was bad, too!???!!!)
After the custodian came and unlocked the fence, the contractor and I went out to look at the condemned area. It was not a good report. $10K MINIMUM, but likely more like $15K. The problem is not the materials. It is that these large companies require a minimum sale price b/c they will be traveling so far and bringing in their own equipment. Another "plus" to living Nowhere. At this point the assistant principal came out. I assume the principal was "too busy" so she sent him in her place. I asked about any cheaper options or ideas. Nope, this was it. At this point, I was pretty much near tears. He did tell me he would "make some phone calls" for me and get back to me via email. After he left, I asked the assistant what the chances were of actually getting this job done. He shook his head and said, "not good."
And there you have it. I got back to school and my sweet, sweet principal (remember, I teach at the elementary) immediately asked me about it. He listened to me cry over it for a few minutes and then gave me some words of wisdom. When I said no one cared about the track team, he agreed. Then he told me I should "rest" on it. He said I had become too "emotionally invested." He agreed that the school system and high school would likely never help at all. I asked him if he thought all my work was wasted. "Of course not. The kids know what you've been doing."
And... I happened to find out this week that the "other" track team in town (the city school team) have been breaking serious rules and guidelines given by the state. I'm not really sure what to do with this information, but to just sit on it. I've been the "whistle blower" before and it really gets you nowhere but have everyone dislike you. The majority of these Bubba Coaches couldn't care less about rules and would laugh at anyone that suggested them to actually follow given rules. I have decided to not take our team there to race this year. I will never support a team that doesn't follow rules.
January 24 is our start date and I am dreading it. I have been very public about my goals for having the track fixed for THIS season. I obviously failed. I really don't care about the other teachers or coaches or random town citizens knowing this, it's the kids that I feel sooo bad about telling. They want nothing more than to race at home. They deserve it. I guess I will be just another person that has let them down. A moment comes into my memory from last season. At the state track meet (only 2 hours from our school), NONE of the parents came to watch their child compete. Zero. Not a dad, not a mom, grandma, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, NO ONE. The STATE TRACK MEET! And that's the way we roll in Nowhere Lower Alabama, me and the kids vs. the world.
In summary, it took me 3 days to write this mostly b/c I wanted to calm down and make sure I didn't lay EVERYTHING out there. There are many more frustrating factors, including the lack of equality in sports and their funding. That is neither here nor there. I do feel better today. What's ironic is that I shared a bit w/ some people from RWOL and a few super special ladies immediately dedicated their spring races to my team. Wednesday night when I was ready to throw in the towel and just quit coaching, they kept me going. Thursday night, when I still wanted to quit, I laid it all out there for TP. I asked him what HE would do in my situation. His response, "Keep on, keepin' on. You're too good to quit."
So for now? I guess I'll press on.