Most of the stories that I’ve written in this column tend to be on the more serious side of sports. However, as serious as sports can be, at the end of the day, sports are about fun. In my experience, many of the best stories happen at sporting events. As an athlete on the University of Dallas track and field team for the last two and half seasons, I would like to take this time to share with you some of my experiences I’ve had representing UD.
There is no better place to start than at the beginning. My very first track meet was with UD two years ago at Texas Lutheran University (TLU). It was not a standard track meet but a relay meet, in which every race was some kind of relay. My very first race was the 1600-meter medley relay. The four legs of the race were 400 meters, 200 meters, 200 meters and 800 meters. I ran the first 200-meter leg and helped our team set a school record for the 1600 medley. My performance was not bad for the first time out.
Our very next meet was at Trinity University, and it was our first standard meet of the year. I vividly remember being in the bleachers with Coach Logan, our hurdles coach that year, watching the 400-meter dash. With about 20 meters or so left in one particular heat, the runner who was in first and was clearly going to win started showboating. His coach, who was standing right near the finish line, started shouting obscenities at him and made a beeline for the athlete after he crossed finish line. The athlete’s coach stood nose to nose with his athlete and continued publicly chastising him for showing off. As we watched, Coach Logan leaned over toward me and said, “If you ever do that I’m going to make you run a 10k.” I can safely say I have never showed off before finishing a race.
My favorite story to tell from that season happened when we were at McMurry University. I had free time before my next event, so I hung out at the hammer cage with our throwers. Women’s hammer throw was going on at the time. While I was there, one of the girls threw her hammer into the door of the cage, which cause the door to whip out and back into a closed position. This was the first indication that something was going to go wrong. Shortly after, a different girl threw her hammer past the door but out of bounds down the sector line. Down the sector line, there was a group of men watching the event. They scurried out of the way just before the eight pound metal ball hit them. A short while after that, another girl threw her hammer in the same spot out of bounds, right at the same group of guys again. This time you could hear one of them yell “Oh [expletive], run!” They just missed being crushed again. I have to admit, I was rooting for the hammer to hit them the second time for not learning their lesson the first time.
Perhaps the best memory of all that first year was back at that first meet at TLU. The other race I ran that day was the 4×400-meter relay. I ran the third leg of this relay. We were in last place when I got the baton, and I was about 50 meters or so behind the second to last place team. As I received the baton and took off, I just ran as fast as I could. As I hit the first straightaway, I noticed I was gaining on the guy in front of me. I also noticed my teammates, Katie MacIntyre, Julia Ringel, Audrey Zohorsky, Maggie Larson, Rosa Forget and Cora Keil, the girls’ sprinter squad, standing about halfway down the track cheering me on. As I rounded the curve and began the final 100 meters, I noticed the girls running across the field to my side of the track to continue cheering for me. As I drew closer to them I could hear them, but not distinguish what they were saying, except for Cora. I will never forget Cora pointing toward the guy in front of me yelling at me, “catch him!” Unfortunately I didn’t, but Cora’s command gave me a boost, and over the course of the lap I cut the distance from 50 meters to 20. Two years later, that moment remains one of my favorite memories.
There are many more stories I could tell about the track team, but these stories are sufficient for now. My time on the track team has been one of the best things I’ve experienced since being at UD. Nothing compares to these memories, and these will be stories that I will continue to tell for years to come.