Thursday, June 10, 2010

My First Track Meet

by TH

“Well, here we are. Laney College Track Field,” my dad said when he finished parking the car. We gazed at the oval-shaped track field swarming with kids warming up for the race. Tall adults were running all over the place and taking pictures of their children. It was so loud that, even with the car windows completely rolled up, I could still hear the different conversations as clearly as if the windows weren’t even rolled up. When I opened the door to get out, it was like pressing play on your iPod without knowing that the volume was accidentally set on full blast. I could feel the excitement that was floating in the air through everyone.

As I walked with my dad along the high fence surrounding, the place, and looked at the ridiculously large amount of competitors who were there, it made me feel a bit uneasy. Groups of kids were dressed in professional uniforms, and they all sounded so strong when they yelled out the number of stretches they were doing. Claremont was probably the only team there that didn’t have uniforms, and we looked so disorganized and spiritless compared to the other teams.

When we reached the entrance, we saw Mr. Lee in his bright orange pants. We greeted him, and Mr. Lee told me we had to wait for Abraham, Ivy and Megan to come. He and my dad talked for a few minutes while I zoned out. My chest was heaving up and down faster than normal. My hands started to heat up, and it felt like they were going to explode like a bag of popcorn left in a microwave way too long. I thought to myself that the other Claremont students could’ve forgotten about the track meet today, and were going to leave me here alone without any friend support! Then, I had second thoughts that they were probably just stuck in traffic. Or even worse, what if they were going to come late and miss out on everything?! My pulse was pumping wildly and crazily fast, like a mad cow.

My dad said bye to me, and wished me good luck, because he had to leave for some important work meeting. I was pretty disappointed that he couldn’t stay, but I got over it. Right after he left, Abraham showed up! I began to have hopes that everything was going to be all right and that I shouldn’t be so paranoid. We waited for about another five minutes, and then went inside because Mr. Lee had to fill out some paperwork to confirm what we were going to compete in. Meanwhile, Abraham and I went to the benches where everyone else was, and relaxed.

Mr. Lee came back with numbers and stickers to put on our shirts. I was number eleven and I was going to do the long jump, 800 meter run and the 1,600 meter (or mile) run. We never practiced the long jump at Claremont, and I had no idea what it was. He taught me how to do it right there on the field. He signed me up for it because he just wanted me to gain some experience. The goal of the long jump was to stand in one place and leap as far as you can. About thirty minutes later, Ivy and Megan finally arrived from their soccer game. I gave a huge sigh of relief, and all the icky feelings I had in the beginning flew out like coughing out mucus. I later found out that traffic kept them from coming on time, just as I had imagined.

I heard the intercom call my name, along with the names of other competitors, to walk onto the field for the long jump. I was really excited for this because it looked like fun. While waiting in the really long line for the tries, I made friends with a girl named Rebecca. She told me she was nervous, and it made me felt kind of better to know that I wasn’t the only one freaking out. We were allowed to jump two times; the first one was practice and the second was the real one. My turn came for the practice and I swung my arms back and forth for the jump, but I didn’t go far. I just shrugged my shoulders when I went back to the end of the line, because this was new to me. I was up next for the second try again when I heard Mr. Lee shout my name from the benches. I looked over, and he demonstrated for me how to do it.

I turned my head back to the sand box I was going to jump in and tried really hard to focus. I bent my knees a little and swung my arms harder than before. I flew in the air just a bit like a chicken and landed farther than I did before. Mr. Lee clapped his hands and smiled at me. That was the only time he ever stopped frowning at me, and it felt good to know he was proud of me. I went back to the bench and everyone gave me a high five. Fifteen minutes later, the intercom said, “For the girls’ long jump, the 1st place medal goes to… Tammy Huynh who jumped 5 feet and 5 inches!” I didn’t expect to win, but I did and it was awesome!

Then, I had to do the mile run, which was the most tiring race ever. By the time I did it, the sun was out and it was hot. I was sweating before I was even running. I started out at a very slow and steady pace in the first lap. I picked it up in the second. Mr. Lee and I had a miscommunication during the race, and it ruined my opportunity to win 1st. I don’t blame him that I lost. We just misunderstood each other with the pace when I headed onto my 3rd lap. I thought Mr. Lee said stop, when he really said good job. I was really confused, because I knew we had to run four laps. Then I heard everyone shouting at me to go, so I immediately continued running. The gap between me and my competitors grew smaller than before. On the last lap, I was really tired, but I still managed to stay in front of them. The sprint for first was on the last couple 50 or 100 meters. I got 2nd. This was a pretty disappointing race to me, because I knew I could’ve done better. This race bothered me a lot because of the silly mistake that had happened.

The 800 meter race was the best one. Megan, Ivy and I competed in this together. We played teamwork in this race, and it was fun. We blocked every other girl from coming in front of us. I thought it was pretty funny when they were getting frustrated. On the last lap, we stopped doing that and sprinted for the top three. Megan won 1st, I won 2nd and Ivy won 3rd. Claremont is the BEAST!

Regardless of whether I won or lost, I learned how to have fun when everything seemed so scary and new to me. I enjoyed going to my first track meet. Best of all, I’m glad that I ran track and field for Claremont!

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