Running Their Own Race

Last Friday was our second week of athletics and I was extremely pleased to be able to go along to support my kids – mainly because there was a coffee trailer set up there offering up real espressos. Apparently he’ll be there every week so there’s a good chance I will be too.

We don’t expect our kids to do particularly well at athletics, but we love the idea they’ll exhaust themselves and maybe give us a sleep in on Saturday mornings. The first two weeks were a trial (for everyone, I think), and next week I assume we’ll be signing the kids up and paying our fees. I’m not sure if it’s because we deal so much in hand me downs in this big family, but the kids are super excited because part of the fee deal is they get a new shirt.

A great thing about the Little Athletics is the kids get to try a whole heap of activities, from shot to long jump and, of course, running. They love it.

This week Miss6 attempted the 300m walk.

“A walk!” I exclaimed to Tracey. “I think she actually stands a chance of doing well in this.”

“You kidding?” Tracey wanted to know. “If I walk home with the kids she wants me to carry her. It’s half a k and she moans and carries on the whole way.”

Still, it wasn’t running, so I felt we were dropping things back to a level she could compete on. I was wrong. Turns out the physical side of things isn’t the real issue.

Immediately the race started Miss6 slipped comfortably into her position behind the pack, no doubt aiming to make use of their slipstream. Lots of athletes get cool nicknames, like The Lightning Bolt or Blade Runner, and I suspect by the end of the season she’ll be known as Caboose.

As she came out of the first turn I suddenly lost sight of her. Then I realized she was walking beside a group of young people on the other side of the track, having a chat. Tracey mentioned to me the week before that Miss6 kept up a running commentary on her run the entire 500m and it seems this week she’d found herself an audience.

Suddenly Miss6 shot ahead of the group and the race was on again. Actually, except for her, the race had finished. This renewed burst of enthusiasm for Track and Field lasted a further 100m, at which point Miss6 sat down for a breather. I think I noticed someone walk up to her and suggest she continue with the race, but at this point I was laughing so much I couldn’t see out the tears in my eyes. All I know is she shot up off the ground and, despite this being a walking race, ran the remainder of the turn.

All that was left to do now was to come out of this final turn of the race and shoot down the straight to the finish line to join the other racers, some of which had gone home with their parents. What happened, however, was Miss6 came out of the turn and raced across all eight lanes to the fence where her sister was standing. I thought perhaps her race was over but, ever one for the surprise tactic, after a quick hello she turned and retraced her steps, effectively going backwards now, to the inside lane where she was met by two lovely officials who took a hand each and escorted her to the finish line so the next race could start.

I’m really hopeful her focus will improve over the coming weeks, but if it doesn’t I’d like to book those two ladies for a regular gig.

Master8, on the other hand, is a thinker. And it seemed to me he must have spent a good portion of the week working out a strategy to ensure he didn’t come last this week. And it worked. He came second last, essentially running most of the race looking over his shoulder as he blocked some poor, unfortunate kid from passing him the entire 700m. In fact the two boys were so wrapped up in their little game they didn’t realize they’d finished the race and added an extra 100m to the event before someone caught up with them and told them to please stop and get off the track.

So I guess the big question this Friday isn’t whether or not my kids want to continue with Little Athletics – which they do – it’s whether or not Little Athletics will allow us back.

I hope they do. That was a really good coffee.

When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’

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