I think that every year since 1996, one of our kids or our nephews or nieces has been in track. That's SIXTEEN years of going to track meets every spring. Sixteen years of good memories -- of the triumphs of victory and the agonies of defeat...lots of effort, and lots of accomplishments -- some medals, and a lot of character-building.
This year when Derek qualified for State, we realized that we had reached the end of that streak, and it was on our minds that we would never get the opportunity again.
We had a hard time deciding to go because the two days we would be in Cheney for the meet were also, likely, the last two good weather farming days for the next 10 days. We tried to take the responsible route and stay home to farm, but in the end, we couldn't stand the thought of missing our last chance. Wednesday night we decided that the TRULY responsible route was to head east and take it in!
We planned to leave the next afternoon...Sister Meg decided she would join us. An avowed "track geek", she couldn't stand to stay home either. Thursday noon, Sister Erin and Brother-in-law Larry -- parents of the trackster -- called to say that they had decided not to wait to leave until Friday morning, and could they ride with us too? By 4:30pm we were on our way, scheduled to meet the Likkel's -- grandparents of the trackster, and unhesitating in their commitment to go east -- in Ritzville that night.
We arrived at Roos Field, Eastern Washington University in Cheney, shortly after the meet started. Derek was scheduled for his first event at 3pm, so in the meantime there was plenty of time to watch prelim races, pole vault, discus and pore over our programs for record heights, speeds and distances. The weather was very enjoyable: temps that had you comfortable most of the time, lots of sun to absorb, and wind. The wind was a bit of a challenge for the participants -- especially those who were vaulting or jumping. It was hard to keep the bar on the standards -- added drama!
Derek's brother Jeffrey,along with his girl, Kristen joined us in time to watch Derek compete in Triple Jump.
Derek's best leap was just 3 few inches shy of his personal record and, unfortunately, 2 inches shy of qualifying for finals. Still one can't feel too bad when jumping so close to the best you've ever done.
Saturday morning we returned to watch Derek in the long jump. Triple Jump is his favorite and his strong suit. He hadn't expected to go to State in Long Jump, so that was just a bonus. However, in his first jump, Derek popped off a 20' jump that was just 3/4" short of his personal record. It was good enough to get him in the finals, and eventually earned him 7th place in the State, and a medal!
It was a great surprise, and a perfect capstone to our families' ongoing fondness for track over the years. Thanks, Derek, for finishing out the family tradition so well.
It surely was fun for all of us!
Another era ends...I'm sure that next spring we will notice the absence of the weekly track event with some sadness. But all in all, Track & Field has given us more than we could have anticipated.
There are sixteen years of memories that will always be good.