The other Track Moms give me a “look,” the look of Hey, I recognize you from the accumulated 528 hours I have seen you here, how’s it going? and I give them a complex and deep and meaningful personal look right back, a look that says, Good.Then we all sit together and watch everyone line up, wait their turn, and finally, finally, finally ... run.
I have had ample opportunity from sitting there to observe the various running styles, and I don’t mean fashion. All the kids wear their track uniforms, so they are dressed the same. But they run differently.Some kids run with their heads down, looking at the ground so they don’t trip. Some run with their heads up, squinting fiercely at the sun. Some are constantly checking out their competitors with quick sideways glances.
Some pump their arms fast, other let their arms dangle down. A few kids have a long stride, while others take quick little steps. Some seem to fly.But what I have really been focusing in on lately is the audience.
The audience applauds loudly for the winners of every race, of course they do. They scream and whistle and yell out, Good job, Sammy! Yay!This is to be expected.
What I was not prepared for is the reaction the losers get. The one who comes in dead last. I shouldn’t say losers, because the real losers are the ones at home, chained to their TV sets, while eating economy-sized bags of Doritos and Hershey’s Kisses. When I am saying loser, in this context, I really mean the 25th place winner (out of 25).So the 25th place winner (out of 25) get even more applause and positive reaction than the 1st place winner (out of 25). The crowd goes absolutely ballistic for these last place winners. There is cheering, shouting, standing ovations, and confetti. It makes you feel good to be alive, to see that last place individual trying his or her hardest, and the crowd clapping loudly.
The last place winner smiles and gives a weak wave, aware that something great has happened. Cameras are involved, and possibly even trophies and medals are being ordered at this very moment for “Best Effort” or “Most Improved.”We have all just witnessed a little bit of magic. The other Track Moms and I all nod our heads and point and give each other thumbs ups and high fives. This elation can last all day. The loser is the winner, and all is right with the world.
When we get home from the meet, I turn to The Husband and announce that I am not going to the gym after all like I had originally planned. Instead, I am going to take a nap, eat some Doritos, and then maybe check my email if I feel like it.“What? MOV, I thought you wanted to work out?”
“Sweetie, no. If I keep exercising, how will I ever come in last?”MOV