Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's a Very Long Pole.

You would think I'd see it coming. Marry a guy who comes from a family of five boys, you are bound to give birth to a few boys yourself. Add in the fact that four of those boys took turns setting records in high school track and field and one went to college on a track scholarship and you think I'd know where things would lead.

Our oldest boy has always loved to run. As a seven year old he and dad ran a mile together every day. His body has always been lean and wiry, like a runner. But I didn't want to assume anything so we let the child take his own path.

And sure enough, when we moved to NY one of his first requests was to join the school track team. He was the little guy back then. The scrawny eighth grader who ran junior, junior varsity for the high school team. Quickly he made his way up to regular junior varsity, and suddenly Varsity. And he started to grow muscles and train harder.

Last spring he introduced me to steeplechase, the race they run while jumping over hurdles placed in front of water pits. I'd never seen that race run in person and it was surreal to have one of the runners be my boy.

Then winter track rolled around this fall and he started talking about hurdles and pole vaulting. His all time favorite run is through the woods, but since cross country is not a year round sport he tolerates winter and spring track to stay in shape and have an excuse to run some more. He's literally grown four inches in the past six months so he can no longer be called a small kid. He is still lean but has added muscle to arms, legs and shoulders and they open up new opportunities for him.

Opportunities to do things like run hurdles and pole vault. I saw my first winter track meet a few weeks ago. Hundreds of kids and parents packed into a not really big enough gym, all trying to stay out of each other's way. I saw my now grown up boy run a two mile race. (too many laps to count) Then he did hurdles. (very hard to get pictures of, it goes by so quickly and parents are shoulder to shoulder at the sidelines) Then he pole vaulted. My first born son ran with a ridiculously long pole and threw his body over that high bar. It was just hard to believe.

It was comforting to know he's still the boy I know so well. The next day I found this picture online. My son is the one on the sled. His track team mate is the one on the bottom. This is what they do on days there are no practices. He's still just a boy down deep. Just like his dad and the four uncles he is growing up to resemble.

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