The pains and gains of track and field, from a York Catholic/School of Technology athlete

By RAY CWIKLINSKI,
York Catholic High School

Because of the merger of the track and field teams of York Catholic High School and York County School of Technology, I now run track at York VoTech, under the symbol of the helmeted Grecian warrior. Our team is called the Spartans, and even though I’m not much of a jock, when I zip up the sleek green tracksuit, I feel as proud as one of Leonidas’ lieutenants.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all fun and games. After every practice, we’re sore and breathless from all we’ve endured, but our spirits are far from broken. During one particularly harrowing practice, we got caught in the middle of a hailstorm, and I don’t mean the band from Red Lion. This was an actual hailstorm, with all these little ice particles cascading down from the sky. Did we admit defeat? Certainly not. We continued running like wild caribou on the tundra. Death or glory, that’s us.

We recently underwent a long journey by bus to Fairfield, Adams County, a town past Gettysburg. Two hours of bouncing around in a yellow bus to get there, two hours of bouncing around in a yellow bus to get back. It might as well have been on the dark side of the moon. The worst part of all was that I was making the entire trek for the sole purpose of competing in the 100-meter exhibition dash, as it was all I had qualified for. I completed my day’s only responsibility in 13.5 seconds and spent the rest of my time recuperating in the tent the team had set up for shelter. I always feel very at home in tents; perhaps I should have been born a Bedouin. But I digress. At any rate, we were more comfortable than at our first home meet, which was the coldest I can recall. On that frigid day, 10 members of the team huddled under a small blanket, our only comfort against the raging wind.

Anyway, after we were finally done running the Fairfield meet, it was time to eat some meat. We stopped at a fast food restaurant, which will remain unnamed because I don’t do commercials, and I ordered a double cheeseburger slathered in pickles and onions and all other kinds of goodies. They gave us the regal treatment at this place by supplying us with paper crowns. I toyed with the idea of hunching my back and hobbling over to the other fast food restaurant across the street, the one that had recently gotten in some hot water in Europe over serving products made out of animals of the equine persuasion. I intended, once inside this rival restaurant (which will also remain unnamed), to pound on the counter and roar, “My kingdom for a horsemeat burger!” Heh-heh-heh. Unfortunately, I had to nix the idea because it was time for us Spartans to get back on the bus. We rolled along for another hour or so. Some athletes kept their spirits up by singing, but I sat in silence, reflecting upon the events of the day.

Running track is a strenuous pastime, but a rewarding and occasionally joyous one. And there’s always the opportunity for an adventure. By the way, we’ve won both meets so far.

About Matt Eyer

Assistant Features Editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Read my (mostly ancient Greece-related) books reviews at Book Buzz. Follow me on Twitter @mjeyer.
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