The Class of 2018 graduated yesterday. It was a gorgeous, breezy, sunny day. The student speakers gave lovely speeches (the last one, made by one of my APUSGOV girls, called on everyone to work to change immoral policies- ie separating families at the border- and got a standing ovation).
A few hours after the ceremony ended, Project Grad began! It was SUCH a fun trip: bowling, laser tag, and bumper cars at Dover Bowl; trampoline fun at Blitz Air; a party cruise in Boston Harbor; an early morning at Storyland. On the bus rides in between, I played DJ and raffled off Amazon gift cards (anywhere from $20 to $100). I have to give props to the parents who did the fundraising and planning for all of that!
It is bittersweet to say goodbye to this big-hearted class, but as I said before, the wide world is going to be so lucky to get to know them next!
Today we took a dozen athletes to the Meet of Champions.
This meet is fun because my middle and high school coaches are always there, and it’s good to catch up with them. My middle school coach always shakes his head about the fact that I’m not twelve anymore, but then he asks after my team and wishes us luck.
It was a bit hot for a track meet, but that didn’t stop our boys relays from PRing in the 4×800 and 4×400, or our long jumper from making New Englands (and sprinting a decent 200m, too). Our girls didn’t do quite as well, but one of the seniors on the 4×800 ran a monster PR, and our sophomore vaulter made a mark, so that’s good.
Coaches aren’t allowed infield at big meets like this, so Coach T and I, who usually run all over the place, spent much of our time jumping up and down in the bleachers and grabbing each other by the arms while our athletes competed.
We’re kind of ridiculous.
But we should be, right? Getting athletes this far is exciting.
We celebrated after the meet with pizza before the long ride home. And that’s it. The Head Coach will take the long jumper down to UNH for New Englands, but for everyone else- including me- the season is over.
My team competed at the division championship today.
One of the other teams lost one of their coaches to cancer two days ago, but I didn’t know that till this morning. It threw me a little when I learned it was a coach at the school where I’d done my student-teaching; I can remember teaching his son. There was a little tribute at the start of the meet, which was nice, and his team all wore armbands to honor him.
So, there was sadness, but there was also joy.
I got to see so many of my former athletes, home from college or on a day off from work, helping out as volunteers. They’re happy, and successful, and a bunch of them are still racing, which is just awesome.
It started raining just as field events kicked off, and everyone was worried about lightning, but I told my athletes not to think about it. Instead, I said they should hold onto the fact that they’re competing in a championship, and that’s a privilege, and they earned it. I told them go out and rock no matter what.
And they did!
We weren’t in title contention, but we had so many PRs- and one school record- so we were thrilled. The best thing for me was watching my 4×1 girls PR by over a second and get a top ten finish. It was what we spent all season working towards, and even when it was rough- early on in the season when they got DQ after DQ- they didn’t lose faith in themselves. I’m so proud of them.
One of our jumpers won long jump, so he’s automatically qualified for the Meet of Champions, and the 4×4 boys might get in, too, so we’ve got another week!
My girls won a conference championship today.
It was truly a team win, too, because we have no standouts who can score 20 or 30 points themselves. Every girl had to step up and grab every point possible: in early events where they weren’t seeded to score, in later events they had to do on tired legs… It was after the 3200m that I told Coach T and The Head Coach that I thought they had it.
It was an awesome moment when they went up to get the trophy, and our captain got to lift it before dashing off with her parents to get ready for the prom. Because, yeah, it’s prom night, too.
Meantime, our boys, who were seeded to score in maybe three events surpassed expectations hugely by racking up enough points to finish seventh overall. I’m particularly proud of the 4×1 boys for a massive PR (and perfect passes!) They’re such a young team, and their time will come.
Today was our last regular season track meet. It was a little conference meet- only six schools, and we’re the largest- so it was over before noon. And it was a good one. The best moment was when our boys’ captain qualified to run in the 800m in the conference championship because he was so close all season, and just couldn’t get his time down… and he smashed the mark by five seconds or so. Our whole team was ecstatic.
All our relay teams had monster PRs, as well. There is no more nerve-wracking thing for me as a coach than being on the infield during the 4x100m, and just hoping the passes happen. Having a team of rookies ratchets up the pressure on me, too, because good passes are our thing. That’s what we’re known for, and I’m known for being able to teach them.
I’m sure I amused other coaches by watching with my hands partially over my eyes.
The boys still have room to improve (comes of having no consistent leg 2 runner), but the girls were perfect. I was jumping up and down after every pass.
It’s the most beautiful thing in track when it’s done right.
And just in time for post-season.