Friday, March 30, 2012

Race On

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The melt is on, and we are pressed for time--on the track that is. The track at my school, much like all tracks in this state, is buried under feet of snow, slowly melting and icing over as the sun rises and falls. Some years we hit April and we can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, there's still a layer of snow and ice, but it's melting steadily and there's much confidence with a little rain and wind and sun that the beautiful red surface will make an appearance just in time.

This year confidence is waning faster than the snow is melting.

We asked for shovels, a blower, means to plow. Some schools stoop to such measures, but we have run into two problems: 1) Our track surface is less than two years old, and thus preciously guarded against anything that has a blade or potential means to damage. 2) There is so much snow around the track, we can't really get to it anyway.

After multiple rounds in the hallway, the students are tired of the stairs. They are tired of big laps and small laps, drills in the gym, circles on the circuits, jumping into mats. They crave sand for a pit, cushion for their young joints, and the reward of fresh air at the end of the day. Actually, they mostly just don't want to run stairs anymore, the rest is just me.

Two days of temperatures near fifty and I've all but retired my warm-up pants for the year. I have been hurt too many times to believe that these temperatures are here to stay; after all, we dip below fifty even in the middle of July.

Only time will tell if I will put my meet hosting skills to work this year, pulling out stacks of forms and an archaic timing system, and calling in every favor in the school to get people to come out and volunteer. In the mean time, I watch with riveting anticipation. I don't expect people outside of major snow systems to understand this obsession with snow melt, but when the pavement breaks through and small lakes form along the roads an unspoken countdown begins. No one really knows when it'll end, but the promise of summer, of track, of time outside free of layers and boots and gloves, that time is at hand.

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