If you have been reading my blog the last two-plus years you know I get excited over the little things… I’m pretty sure all parents do. I really enjoy the simple things… watching my son learn from the environment around him, watching him make mistakes and then figure out how to fix them, or even just laughing at something funny he does. However, there are times in every parent’s life that they feel an extreme amount of pride, which goes above and beyond that normal love they have for their child. Watching your child graduate from college or get married would be two of these times I would assume. But for me… one of those times happened yesterday. I watched my son go over hurdles on the same track I did so many years ago. It was one of those moments that I’ll never be able to accureate describe to him… one of those times that I felt blessed to be able to witness him grow up and be able to participate in his development as a little person.
I know I get a lot of grief about how much I talk about track and hurdling… then again, it occupied a HUGE portion of my life and paved the way for me to a free college education. I accomplished a lot in my athletic career in high school and college and I still am most proud that track and field provided me so many opportunities including a scholarship, the ability to travel to so many places and meet so many people and most of all the knowledge that sometimes you aren’t going to be the best at something… but you can overcome and sometimes accomplishing your own personal goals are even more rewarding then actually winning. To some people the track is a six lane, rubberized surface for working out. For me it was a pathway to a better me.
I hope my son can find that one day, whether it is though sports, or the arts or his academics. But yesterday it was about a start on that same pathway that helped me become who I am today. Jax stepped out on the track for the first time as an athlete. He walked down the same lanes his dad had dominated (sorry had to get that in there) for so many years. He stopped to pin on his bib number just like his dad had done before him. He waited at the starting line, heart beating out of his chest with anxiousness (OK, maybe I made that part up… but he could have been nervous right?) for the start of his first hurdle event just like his dad’s had before every race.
In all reality, the race itself was less about getting over the hurdles than it was about being able to bond with my son over something that we both love to do. Although right now he might not want to stay in one lane or told when he can actually start his race, this kid love to RUN! He wakes up and (pardon the pun) hits the ground running. He chases Max around the front yard, runs up and down the sidewalk when we walk around the neighborhood and I have to say he has amazing leg turnover already.
The race itself was hilarious! The kids in attendance all had some much fun and Jax was excited to chase and get chased by a bunch of bigger kids. I would be remised to say that there wasn’t a heated moment on the track though… just like the old days. This time it wasn’t about a disputed finish or an argument over timing. It was after Coach Grimes gave all the adults their one warning… “STAY OFF THE TRACK AND LET THE KIDS COMPETE.” About 25 meters into the race and with Jax starting to hit his groove a disgruntled women came running out of the stands and onto the track. At first there was concern it was a protestor or an angry competitor out for revenge. But after a closer look it was neither, it turned out to be a grandmother (or in this case a Mima) who refused to let her grandchild lose. You can see this Mima disregard all the rules and spectators yelling at her as she takes Jackson by the hand and leads him to the finish line. You have got to respect a grandmother’s will to win at all costs!
Let’s end this blog with a quick review of Jackson’s first hurdle race…
The Start was OK… never a great part of dad’s races either. He was leaning a bit on his heels and didn’t react to the gun fast enough and got off to a slow start. As stated earlier, his leg turn over and speed between the hurdles was a thing of beauty. He was fast, quick to get up to the hurdle and kept his steps even and well-paced.
The hurdle itself was tough as it is for every person. The first time I went over one I looked like a duck in midair who was just shot out of a tree. The lead up to the hurdle was, however, beautiful. He drove his knee to his chest and had a perfect lean into the hurdle itself. His first hurdle was a thing of beauty, he was over it and ready to attack the next one immediately. Once he gained some confidence, he went after the higher setting and clipped a few hurdle tops on his way to the finish line.
All in all, a successful race and potential that is oozing out of his pours. This kid is going to be a champ one day… and even if he isn’t, I still treasure this day as long as I live!