Faster, Higher, Stronger at Middle School Track Meet
Monday the annual DMPS Middle School Track Meet got the weather the Drake Relays wished for on Saturday. The conditions at East High School’s Williams Stadium couldn’t have been any better for running and jumping and throwing. Check that. Maybe the runners in the 4×800 relays could have done without the headwind in the backstretch on their second laps, but still, it was a decidedly outdoor day, the sort given to blossoms and baton-passing.
At the north end of the stadium stand two poles that anchor a big sign from each of the five high schools the ten teams in this meet are headed toward. You wondered if they caught the attention of the runners loping past.
Besides the competition itself this event is good practice at the ways and means of a big track and field meet. Athletes learn to listen for the PA announcer’s first call, second call and last call to their events. You can’t hear them with buds pumping adrenalized music through your ears into your limbs. Like hunting dogs on point, sprinters in the blocks are trained to uncoil simultaneous with the burst of the starter’s pistol. And you don’t want to be caught jaywalking across the approach to the long jump pit when someone’s about to go airborne.
There’s a lot of round and round and back and forth. Hurdles and high jump bars get clipped and runners stumble. Races are breathtaking, literally, regardless of where you finish. Into the wind it can feel like you’re not getting anywhere. But keep going. You’re almost there. Follow the signs around the next bend to East, Hoover, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt.