10 April, 2017

First athletics meet of the season*

On Saturday we went to the first athletics meet of the season for our two younger boys (our eldest is not doing a sport for school this season, he's hoping to get some extra time for schoolwork).
It was the first time, I think, that David and I have gone on our own to a meet without any accompanying children. For both the cross-country and wrestling seasons David has been a bus driver. But not for track and field. We didn't drive either. It is on the other side of the city, out near the bay. Between here and there there are millions of people and nearly as many cars, so trains are a much wiser option.

We also left at a nice time: 8.30, as opposed to much earlier for both wrestling and cross-country. We could do this because neither of our boys were in the first events. However our middle son was in pretty much the last event, so we stayed till the end at 4pm. It was a nice peaceful journey and after the stress of the last week, it was great to have a low-stress journey to the the meet.
It was not a brilliant day, weather-wise. Most of the day we had drizzle or the kind of drifting misty rain that makes umbrellas ineffective. The day before had been quite a warm day (nudging into the 20Cs) and hence it was very tempting not to dress warmly and I didn't put as many clothes on as I should have. 

As the day went on it seemed to just get colder and colder. Being outside in early spring misty rain, the cold tends to get into the bones after a while. I was so thankful that I'd hurriedly packed some long under-clothes in my backpack. I ended up using all of them and lending a pair of socks to a friend who was also struggling. Many parents left early, though, often due to the cold. I have to admit it was pretty chilling, looking at all those teenagers walking around in t-shorts and shorts in the drizzle.

Thankfully, though, there were quite a number of parents around to hang out with most of the day. There was plenty of time to talk, although you still have to be pretty alert to what's going on or you could just miss one of your child's three events of the day! I missed our youngest's relay because I was getting my camera out of the bag. 

Athletics meets aren't quite as intense as wrestling meets (but I don't find them as stressful, either).There isn't as much going on all the time and you are further from the action. And some events just seem to be very poorly organised. It took them all day to get through four discus events (all morning to do the high school boy's discus, and I'm sure that there weren't that many athletes).

 While waiting for the discus to start on the other side of the field to the
 stands, I was able to capture some more cherry blossoms.
Our two boys mostly did sprints: 100m, 400m, 4x400m, and discus for our middle son. 100m, 200m, and 4x100m for our youngest. They both did well. 

As I've explained before, the meets are organised in terms of educational level, not age. So all the middle schoolers (grades 6, 7, and 8) compete against one another. This doesn't give much success and encouragement to the grade 6 kids, but thankfully they can at least compare their times in this, unlike wrestling.

Our middle son is therefore the top of the heap and had high expectations to match. He came second yesterday in both the 100m and 400m (out of 63 competitors for the 100m, 15 for the 400m), so was very satisfied with that, though he'd like to improve his times. Our youngest son, if you compare him only to the other six graders in the events, also came second, though in reality it was 28th for the 100m and 16th in the 200m. He also wants to improve his times. So they've both got good goals to keep them motivated to train.

We're doing this for six weeks running this time (although I'm taking a break to volunteer at CAJ's Thrift Shop on the 22nd). Hopefully the weather will be better next week! That would help the sprinters too, the track was a little slippery.

*Americans would say Track Meet, Australian say "athletics" but I've got a feeling it wouldn't be "meet", what is the noun that Aussies would use here? "Carnival" doesn't seem quite right, though I know it's used in terms of school athletics events in Australia.

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