Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Hurdler

You may recall from the post about the shoes, Timmy had made the snap decision to join his school's track team. I kind of wonder if this had more to do with his interest in getting a cell phone than in sports. You see, he's been wanting a cell phone for just about his whole life, and recently our excuse for not getting it has been along the lines of: "Well, it would be different if you needed to call us about being picked up somewhere." Once practices started it did become necessary to communicate and so the boy got his phone. He loves it.

And he has continued with the track team, which has been quite an experience. In addition to that first pair of shoes we have purchased another pair with screw-in metal spikes, and a uniform, a sweatshirt and pants, and a long-sleeved T-shirt with the team logo. The cost of this is starting to rack up, but I'm not complaining about that because I do believe this is a good thing for Tim to be doing. It's gotten him away from the computer and outside exercising, being with other kids, and part of "the team" which purportedly has many developmental benefits for children.

This is my first experience with an official school sport. Our boys have been involved in recreational sports such as soccer and baseball for years, but now that it's 7th grade it's a part of the school. I had never participated in a team sport in all my years of education. I was a member of the high school math team (hey! We had T-shirts with equations written on them!) but nothing even remotely athletic. This might have something to do with how the noncomplimentary phrase "runs like a girl" could have conceivably originated with an image of me trying to catch the bus. I was always skinny and weak and just never ever considered doing anything like that. I have thus become opinionated about how much of the school budget seems to go towards athletics when not every child gets to benefit from them. (Did you know coaches get PAID?) So now that my child is partaking I can back off of that a bit.

Two weeks ago Tim had his first track meet. He has decided to do hurdles as his "event." I cannot ever recall him jumping over anything but whatever. Because it was a busy day we decided that Larry would go to the meet and I'd take Jeff to his swimming class. Well, as he went to go over the very first hurdle of his very first meet he went smacking into it and fell hard onto the ground, bruising his leg and scraping himself bloody all over. He then got up and finished the rest before a paramedic rushed to the field to have a look at him. THEN his father showed up.

The next meet happened to fall on Bring Your Kids to Work Day and we had it all planned so that he could still make it back to school for the meet, but he complained of a bad stomachache and ended up not competing. I worried that he was traumatized from his first meet experience.

So the third meet was at a faraway school but I was determined to be there for my brave son and therefore went over my own set of metaphorical hurdles to make absolutely sure I was sitting on those cold hard metal bleachers shivering in my too-thin professional work clothes in time to see him try again. I felt so proud just to see him enter the stadium with the rest of the team, looking so official in those expensive matching uniforms. He's at an age right now where he alternates in flashes from looking like the cute little boy he once was to a glimpse of the man he is about to become. I perched on my bleacher watching everyone mill about in apparent chaos until I saw his group go up to where the hurdles were. Another group of kids went first and I marveled as they glided across in mere seconds. Then it was Tim's turn.

I'll never know what it is like to compete in a school team sport, but I now know what it feels like to have my own heart exit my body and float in a sine wave before my eyes for 13.46 seconds of anxiety before flying back in with a swell of joy and relief. He did it! He made it over every hurdle with nary an injury nor stumble. And he has continued to improve his time in the consecutive meets . So now he has spent 55.07 seconds competing in a sport. That's almost one whole minute. My son the athlete! I am beaming with pride for him. Beaming.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Mindy- We do good beaming. So glad that it's working out for Tim. His practice at the track is paying off. Does he run through the subdivision while Jeff keeps up with him on a bike? Aunt Chris
ps- He must run the opposite direction when he hears you calling him Timmy instead of Tim.

Heather Leigh said...

YAY Tim! I can just hear Chariots of Fire now. Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun. Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun. OK, so that's how the melody in my head came out in writing and I'm not sure it came across very well, but now that it's stuck in YOUR head, you try and put it into writing!