The track. The hurdles with Shamrocks painted on them. The pole vault pit. The jump mats. The cage for the discus. The volunteers. The dozen busses in the parking lot.
Just fifteen, short years ago, I asked my high school principal when WE were going to get a track. His response: When YOU pay for it. Well, how much is it? I asked. About a quarter of a million, he said.
And that was the end of that conversation.
Well, thankfully, I didn’t have to foot that bill. Thankfully, the community came together and did that—in just a few years! And yesterday, New Haven hosted its first EVER track meet.
Had I just left New Haven two days earlier? Yes. Did I think twice about driving all the way back across the state again—for one day? No. I had to be there. I had to be there because this was always just a dream to me; I had to see it in real life.
And just to put this a little more into perspective, my nephew and I had a conversation while walking on the old "track" that went something like this:
Me: "Aunt Wawa, Aunt April and Mommy used to run on this track."
Jack: "What track?"
Me: "This one—the one we're standing on."
Jack: "This isn't a track."
Me: *nods head "Yes, Jack, you are correct."
So, yeah, yesterday was pretty cool. Everything ran smoothly, there were tons of volunteers, athletes ran fast and jumped and threw far and New Haven won the meet. You never would have guessed that this was New Haven’s first—like, not even a practice meet—track meet. To say I was a little proud to be an alumna is like saying I'm a little in love with the Great British Baking Show! So, yes, yesterday, I wore that three-leafed plant as if it were a crown! So, THANK YOU to all those who made this dream a reality!
P.S. My nephew’s daddy thinks my nephew is going to be a baseball star. But I’m doing my best, Coach Tucker. And just to prove it, right after the 4x400 was announced yesterday, Jack (my nephew) jumped up and said: This is the funnest (we're still working on English) race. They pass sticks, Daddy.
At that, his daddy looked at me. ...And I just smiled.
One step closer.