Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Satisfying Exhaustion

DSC04033 Artificial turf, finally out from the covering of snow, is a true sign of spring around here. I expect the first true showing of green next week...
 Day two of three has finished in our track championship series, and I am officially exhausted. The grand finale of the season finds me teaching in the morning, layering raincoat upon down vest upon hooded sweatshirt upon rubber boots over lunch, and standing out in thirty degree wind chill all afternoon. The sun has been shining, but it is a deceptive blue sky--the air is crisp and the snow mounds still perch in shaded corners where weeks of melting still hasn't proven to be enough. Midway through today's meet Curtis biked in for a visit when he got off of work early. I confessed my desire for a latte, and when I huddled close--hoping he'd break the wind for a few short minutes--he reminded me that public displays of affections aren't appropriate at track meets. Later, he returned--still biking--coffee in hand. One fourteen year old athlete of mine standing near me couldn't believe my luck in landing such a spouse; sometimes I can't either.

 Besides coffee delivered by good looking doctors, the last week of a season is rewarding in many ways. Most of the time the performances are often the best of the season. More importantly, after several weeks of practices and meets, I know the athletes much better than at the beginning. I have learned their typical times and distances and have gotten to know their personalities. They have gotten to know my "clear-out-the-locker-room-NOW" voice, and that I will celebrate with them whenever they perform at their best. I know which athletes always get to practice on time, and which ones constantly forget a jacket. And inevitably I know the athletes whose parents are perpetually late for practice best of all, sitting out by the curb on cement platforms while they desperately text and call for someone--anyone--to take them home.

 I know the next 24 hours will exhaust me even more than I am right now, and I know I can't uphold this pace much longer. Yet I also know there's a subtle grief that will haunt me all weekend when I realize I'll have little contact with so many of these athletes for the rest of the year--or ever again. This mourning will combine with reality of the school year coming to a close in two short weeks, when I will happily begin to fill my days with cooking and running and biking around town. All the while I will miss the daily interaction with the ever-present teenager that consumes my life for nine and a half months, a job that tests and exhausts me without fail, all the while being immensely satisfying.

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