The Saratoga Sun -

Hell? No, just State track


Before I get into my regularly-scheduled rant, I would like to express how proud I am of every single participant at the Wyoming State track meet held recently.

I saw kids trying to compete with aches and pains (one observer commented that one of the students was trying to do the high jump on a bum shin), I saw athletes come off the field and break down bawling because they felt they could have done better, I saw sisters compete and pump each other up at the same time, athletes congratulated the person who had just beaten them and the sentiments were returned.

The true spirit of sportsmanship can obviously be found at a Wyoming State Track meet.

The thing I witnessed that really moved me though was during a girls’ relay race.

The third girl on her team (I don’t remember the team—nor is it important) was leading coming into the handoff and lost the lead just before she passed the baton.

As the last runner took off, the girl who had lost the lead fell between the first two runners on her team and began to express, between sobs, she was sorry she had lost the lead. The other two runners were consoling her as the last runner started to make up ground.

Coming into the finish line the last runner found an extra gear and ended up narrowly winning the race.

I looked behind me and saw the expression of pure joy on the crying girl’s face. As the relay team shared a hug, I could see that the girl who had lost the lead felt a deep sense of redemption.

Call me a softy, but a tear ran down my cheek.

You don’t get too many opportunities to witness such a pure emotion.

Savor them when you do.



Sorry, got a little choked up again.

On to my normal crotchetiness.

So Thursday evening I braved a usually unusual Wyoming spring and made the trek to Casper.

It was cold and snowy as I began the trip but I was in no hurry so being careful was easier.

Around Muddy Gap the road was wet and covered along the shoulder with blown snow. No big deal.

It wasn’t until I got just outside of Casper that I had much to worry about.

The wind was howling through the canyon that leads into Casper from the south and though the road didn’t look bad there must have been some slush or black ice because I felt my car jump a bit to the left going around a long curve.


Fortunately, like I said I was not in a hurry so I just took my foot off the gas and slowed way down.

For the first time in my life I was happy they had the road past the canyon torn up for construction as it gave me a good excuse to slow down even more.

Anyway, I got there, ate dinner and visited with the friends I was staying with and turned in early.

Way too damn early in the morning I got to the site of the track meet. Snow covered the infield and large tents with team name and logos on them dominated the area around the track and the uncovered stands.

I saw the Saratoga Panther tent set up on the stands and headed that way. As I walked toward the tent snow began to shoot off the top. When I arrived, I found the cause was Rex (the Saratoga Athletic Director) punching the roof to remove the snow.

As the team arrived a propane heater was lit to keep the cold at bay.

Rex let me know that I was welcome to come into the tent to escape the snow and cold. I took him up on it for about ten minutes before I began my pinball day.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but several events go on at once at a normal track event. You can get a schedule of where and when you should be, but when you are trying to cover multiple events for three schools you would have to be a runner to cover even half of what you want to. Add in that the field events got delayed due to the snow, then run later during other events ... well, you’re screwed.

I had anticipated cold weather and thought I was appropriately garbed. After a while running (yes, I actually ran) between events across a snowy infield I was soaked, cold and generally miserable. I have no idea how the athletes warmed up adequately for their events.

By the end of the day I just wanted a hot shower and a bed. I did that ... but managed to add a few drinks too.

The next morning looked promising with a few clouds in the sky and no new snow on the ground.

Again I bundled up and got to the field early.

While the morning was cold, the sun broke out and it warmed up some.

In typical Wyoming spring fashion it got to the point that it was hot if the sun was out but cold when the sun hid it’s face.

What I hadn’t thought of because I had bundled up that morning was that while the sun was out I was slowly burning my face and neck.

By the time a cute camera girl videotaping the meet offered me some sunscreen, I figured it was too late.

Yeah, I know ... but about that time the announcer called another event I had to scurry to.

Also, I am complete crap at talking to women.

Anyhoo ... I think I got some good photos and I made it back safely.

Besides being frozen and burnt it was a pretty good weekend.


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