Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Race

Do you remember The Time?  Not as in, "the time when..." but the band The Time?  Let me refresh your memory.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82FacSRLtuA 

Step back in time for a moment:  parachute pants, shoulder pads, "feathered" hair, banana clips, break dancing during lunch, new wave music blasting from boom boxes - like "Take On Me" by A-Ha, and we were all "Just Say(ing) No."  

The top grossing film of the year?   Back To The Future

It's 9th grade and I am nearing the end of my first year in a new school.  The first day of school had felt like a nightmare that I couldn't wake from.  I had gained 20 pounds during the summer and it wasn't because I had grown 5 inches. To make my life even more exciting, I decided to get a short haircut.  My hairdresser and I had a very different idea of what "short" means.  

Imagine walking into a new school at age 14 (we all know how LOVELY 14 year olds can be), being self-conscious about weight gain and sporting a near-military cut. 

Cue popular boy:  "You're Ugly!" and insert laughter.  Welcome to math class.  I somehow manage to make it through day one and actually find some really nice friends during the school year.  I don't remember getting my hair cut again until the following summer.

It's track season and I decided to participate.  Actually I don't remember very much about that season.  I socialized with my friend, Hope...and I think I may have thrown the shotput.  Hope and I were on a quest to run in the 800, although nary a coach could be found who ever encouraged us.  We would "run" on our own during practice.

Walking into the head coach's office to receive my uniform, he informed me that I should really lose some weight as he handed me my gear.  He looked back down to his paperwork and that was the end of our motivational talk.

Hope and I lined up at the start of the 800.  Standing on a cinder track, scared out of our minds, we wished each other luck.  My shorts were so tiny and skin-tight, I felt like standing bratwurst.  As one website describes Dolfin shorts:

  "Take the scandalously high hot pants of the early 70’s, slit the sides and round the corners, trim with a contrasting color, and voilà, you’ve got the hottest thing to come out of the fitness craze of the 80’s".http://www.skooldays.com/categories/fashion/fa1286.htm   Hot on Daisy Duke, not on me.

The gun fires and cinder is flying as I pull away from the leaders.  My lungs are searing and I realize I need to pace myself.  Rounding the first corner I find myself being engulfed by runners on either side.  Down the back stretch and Hope and I have become the sweepers, only who will sweep us? 

The leaders are crossing the tape and I have to get out of the way...how humiliating.   Hope and I finished our race even though no one was watching anymore assuming everyone was done.  We were happy to cross the line together, knowing we'd never do that again.

And that was my first and what I thought was my last race.  It took a lot of internal coaxing for me to start running again as an adult.  Until that point, it was punishment for not doing a drill correctly in another sport.

Epilogue:  My then-track-coach is now a referree for my daughter's recreational soccer and isn't a very good one at that  (maybe I'm biased). 

Mean boy flirted with me in Safeway a few years ago, not knowing who I was.  Please, Gag me with a spoon!  That was totally grody!

RIP 9th Grade Ginger
You have no idea how Totally Awesome your life will be!