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A Track and Field Kind of Summer

The three ring circus has nothing on Hayward Field

I’ve always been a sucker for a good track meet. Well, even a mediocre one too. Since my first one, the Huron Relays in March of 1967, I’m hooked.

When P.T. Barnum added the third ring to his “Greatest Show on Earth” in 1882, he indeed invented the three ring circus. He was, however, a little behind in this whole three ring thing as the first Olympic Games were held in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece. The Greeks expanded the circus to include the pentathlon and everything went big time when the Romans picked up track and field around 200 BC. Talk about a three ring circus….

Don’t get me wrong, a circus can be pretty fun, and a football, baseball, basketball, or hockey game can be extremely sensually stimulating. But in today’s “modern” world, a well oiled track and field meet could have as many as seven events going on simultaneously. While the schedule rolls through the running events, spectators can also get their full of throwing, jumping, and vaulting in every corner of the stadium. I loved running in them, I loved organizing them. I digress.

Spring (and summer) is track season. This one has been very special.

First, my Grandson, Mason, had a fabulous season running mostly the 1600 and 3200 meters for Eaglecrest High School. As a sophomore, he regularly competed with the best distance runners Colorado had to offer and became an outstanding runner with an exciting future. Each meet was fun, each meet was personal. And as you get to know the other kids on the team, every event becomes a little personal as they try to summon the best they can give.

Next, I spent four days watching the NCAA Championships on the television. Collegians attempting to become National Champions and All-Americans is very cool. I remember the Penn and Ohio State Relays in college. Fantastic atmospheres. 

Last weekend, Mason ran in the USATF (track and field’s governing body) State Junior Olympics. He won the 1500 and 3000 and qualified for the regional in three weeks in Albuquerque. The hope is that he will make it to the Nationals in Sacramento at the end of July. 

If all that isn’t enough, tucked in the middle is a trip to the USA Olympic Track and Field Trials at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, OR. Linda and I set it up as a “reward” for Mason’s great season tagged onto a present for his sixteenth birthday. Of course, there could be a bit of selfish motive behind the choice of the gift as I have never attended the Trials. Oh well.  

So, it’s a track and field summer. Pretty exciting. Somewhere in the middle of that, we might sneak in the San Francisco Marathon. That’s a topic for another time.

Run on (in circles, well, ovals).

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