Category: bonus day

Bonus Day

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!

Bonus Day

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.

Bonus Day

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! 

Bonus Day

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. 

Bonus Day

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.

Bonus Day

So I spent the past two days in New York City, and I spent today at a track meet. 

It was a big invitational with limited entries, so we could only take about two dozen kids. It’s a bummer for the ones who didn’t make it, of course, but it’s a good meet for the ones who did. Getting the experience with tough competition now will benefit them- physically and mentally- during the post-season. That’s doubly true for rookies, and almost all of my sprinters are rookies.

They all ran PRs or close (hundreths, I mean), but our best performances on the day came from our girls’ captain in the 3200m and our boys’ captain in the discus; they shattered their previous PRs. The whole team is happy for them. 

It was a great day for a meet, too: sunny and 65 for most of the day. Can’t complain about that!

On Monday everyone will be back from vacation, and the rest of the season will fly by!

Bonus Day

Yesterday was beautiful. Today was rainy. Did we still have track practice?

My sprinters did 400m repeats at 8-min mile pace or better because that’s a good way shake the legs out after a meet. We couldn’t go in the building afterwards- the floors are being waxed- so they did cool down stretches under the bleachers. The distance runners used the equipment shed. 

We’re resourceful. 

And then we went and got ice cream. 

See, a few weeks ago, Mr. B’s son was diagnosed with cancer, and since then the community has been doing whatever it can to help their family. The local ice cream shop announced it was going to do a fundraiser today- donating a portion of all proceeds- and these big-hearted kids went, wet running clothes and all. They joined a line that stretched around the building.

How great is that?

Bonus Day

Today was our first home meet! The boys came away with a win, and the girls were second, and everyone is in high spirits.

My sprinters picked up a bunch of points- won both the 100m and 200m on the boys’ side- and some mega PRs. The 4×1 girls improved by more than two seconds (after two DQs)!!! So they were overjoyed, and I was, too! It’s so amazing when a relay finally clicks. It’s the best thing. 

The boys, well, they got the baton around the track. I basically just threw a team together because my third and fourth leg boys are gone, and my second leg boy got injured. Honestly, I should have seen that coming, and I feel a bit annoyed with myself that I didn’t. He’s had a nagging quad injury, but he’s been icing it and taking it easy. He told me he was feeling okay, sooo we went to do baton practice, and he totally tweaked the injury. 

And I should have known better because this boy is a freshman, and they always say yes when they’re asked if they’re okay. Luckily, he didn’t hurt himself badly. He’ll take the rest of the week off, and then, according to the AT, he should actually be okay. 

I’m taking it as a reminder that, even now, I have learning and growing to do as a coach. 

And the season goes on…

Bonus Day

I love spring break track practices. And the weather finally caught up with the fact that it IS spring, so that made today’s practice particularly good. It was sunny, cloudless, 65 degrees, and we were out there prepping for the tri-meet we’ll host tomorrow.

It’s a small group because lot of athletes go away during spring break. That’s something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing when I was an athlete, but this is a different school and a different time, and nowadays I just roll with it. The athletes who do show benefit from being there and getting our less divided attention. It’s a chance to really work on strength and technique, and fine-tune what they’re doing.

Bonus Day

Me: Spring break!!!
My mother: Yay, what are you doing? Any plans?
Me: It’s track season, Mom. Same answer since I was twelve.

I got up bright and early, and got on the bus with the track team for another big invitational meet. This one was a good one. It was run like clockwork, and it was 57 degrees and sunny. There was wind, at times, but it’s still the best weather we’ve had all season. And it helped! Nearly everyone PRed, some medaled, some qualified for the post-season. Highlights: one of our captains hitting the state meet standard in discus for the first time in his career, one of our girls getting a school record in high jump.

The thing about high jump is that I know very little about it, so when The Head Coach had to step away, all I said to this athlete was “Jump high.” After she cleared whatever height she was at, I joked that clearly my coaching advice had worked. 

Really, the only bummer of the day was that my girls 4×1 got DQed again. It’s the first time a relay team of mine has ever dropped a baton in competition (had to happen at some point)- but they handled it well. They weren’t angry- disappointed, but not angry- and they all know they’ll have more chances and it’ll click in time. And the girls who run the first two legs were actually ecstatic because their pass was perfect, and that’s the one that had been giving us so much trouble.

That kind of positivity goes a long way.