“Dad, I just want to go fast.”
My son and I were having a discussion a few years back about his interests and things he might want to do for a new activity. After thinking for a few minutes, he blurted out this statement.
So when he approached us a few months ago with the idea that he wanted to run on the track team, it wasn’t too surprising. The strange thing is that running track, let alone sprinting, is not part of our family history or genetic makeup as far as I can tell. While I am reasonably athletic, few people would consider me to be sprinter material. My wife is less athletic than I. While he ran in a handful of open meets in the past, it didn’t cross my mind that he would be cut out for the training routines and formal events that came with the participation on a team. But the opening was there so we encouraged him to give it a try and see where it led.
As a youth, I participated in the more traditional team sports (football, baseball & basketball). I’ve assumed that track was a compilation of individual events that didn’t involve a real team dynamic.
Here’s where I admit openly that I’m still learning new things nearly every day.
He joined the relay teams.
4 members to each team. Each running a leg of the race (100 meters to 800 meters per leg depending on the race). At each leg, a transition from one passing a baton to the next person.
One slip, one mistake and the team suffers. If you don’t put out your best effort, everyone is impacted. Drop the baton and you could be disqualified from the race.
Passing the baton during the transition is particularly important and one of the most intriguing components of the race. During the limited transition area, the sprinter with the baton tries to keep running at maximum speed while passing it to the next runner. The next runner is attempting to be at maximum speed right at the moment of transition. The teams that can coordinate this the best, and do it 3 times in a row, have a great advantage.
Seeing your teammate all putting out their all inspires the next runner to do the same.
It’s really great to watch.
The year is over now and the season ending party is completed. My son ran in so many team races that they awarded him the title of “relay king”. Seeing the satisfaction on his face was really uplifting.
It’s amazing how life experiences can be so interesting and rewarding, however strange and mysterious they may seem at first.
Their team has a great motto: “Don’t chase your dreams; Run them down!”
I’ll keep this in mind when new opportunities and challenges arise.