Yeah, I know. It’s been a while. The family’s been busy, getting ready for the holidays has been busy, my work has been busy. This gets pushed to the back burner, and by the time I turn to it, I’m just way too exhausted to write anything, and I just go to bed early.
But not today! It’s 7:35 am and I’m going! Go me!
Today we are heading to a track meet. For the indoor season, many meets are at either Union College or the University at Albany, and either way, it’s a freakin’ zoo. I took a couple of photos to try to help me convey the craziness of these events, and you really can’t tell how crowded and loud it is.
At Union, there’s a gigantic field house, and the track consumes most of the space. Parents are supposed to stay outside of the track while athletes, coaches, and officials are inside the track. There are multiple events going on at any one time, plus preparations for the next event, so runners are running, jumpers are jumping, and pole vaulters are pole vaulting. There’s a very loud starting gun going off frequently, there are sometimes announcements that are both loud and unintelligible, and of course there are shouts and cheers from the crowd. Beyond the regular events, the kids are constantly warming up, warming down, or practicing handing off the baton, so even if you know that a race isn’t happening, you can still get run over if you don’t look alert. With space at a premium, it’s easy to take a step backward and accidentally block someone’s path. I’ve seen a teenager walk with a plate full of pizza directly into the middle of a race, which is super-clueless, but just two weeks ago I accidentally walked through the spot just beyond the sprinters’ finish line before I realized where I was, so even when you’re trying to be a self-aware and responsible adult, you can screw up.
At its most spacious, there are a couple of sets of bleachers. Where we were sitting for this picture, there was a few feet between the edge of the track and the wall. It’s really close to the runners.
Like, so close that you feel a breeze when they go by.
At U Albany it’s a bit different because they’ve got a tier above the track that goes all the way around for parents to watch, but kids are still running laps there, too.
This is our third year for indoor track. It’s our first year having two kids do indoor track. It’s turned the track meets into mini-marathons for us parents. For every meet, each student is assigned one or two or three events at most. That means that even though the meets last 4 or 5 hours, you can show up in time for your kid’s first event and leave after your kid’s last event and shave off some of those hours. The timing isn’t exact, so we’ve miscalculated and arrived to see M and her relay team cooling down from the race we’ve just missed. Now we try to make sure that we’re early enough, plus we have two kids with events. Last week, J was jumping at the very beginning of the meet and M was running in the very last race. This week I’m packing a book and a magazine and a snack.