Same as last year, only different


Yesterday’s weather was exactly the same as the fourth Saturday in October 2010. I know this because it’s the weekend of the high school district cross country meet, and I remember every detail from last year. It’s been like this each Saturday in September and October.

Only it’s not “the same” as last year.

For the first time in 4 years I’m not going to all the meets to watch my daughter and her team. Saturdays have not felt right. It’s kind of like when the bike racing season ends and you’re wondering what to do with yourself. Only with bike racing there will be a “next season” not that many weeks away. There are no more next seasons for watching my daughter run with her high school team.

I went to the district meet, to watch her former teammates run. I realized that I miss the whole atmosphere of the big meet: the nervous anticipation, the intensity of the race, the smiles and tears after the race. I never fail to get goosebumps when the starter’s gun fires and the big pack of runners takes off.

In the heat of the race — running out to the far point on the course, taking pictures and cheering the runners — I wasn’t thinking about my daughter not being there. It was only after leaving the race that I started to think about it. I don’t want to feel like I’m trying to hang on to a piece of something that is gone. Maybe there is some element of that, but daughter or not I find these competitions to be compelling to witness.

The team advanced to the regional meet, which is even more intense as it means a potential trip to the state meet.

Now I’m supposed to say something about how fast it all goes by, and how parents should treasure every moment they have while they can. The thing is, I don’t think it makes it easier.

In fact I think it might make it even harder. If you’re not really involved, then there’s not much of a change.

See you at the regional meet.

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