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"Murphy was an optimist!"

400 meter relay February 28, 2006 8:01 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History, Medford
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When I was a freshman in high school I participated in track. I loved the thrill of the pole vault, and the challenge of the hurdles. Although the high jump was interesting, I just didn’t do well. I would have continued the track team throughout high school but in my sophomore year I was offered my first regular job and had to choose between practices and money; money, the great evil, won and took me down the wrong path.

One small winter track meet has so few competitors that for the 400 meter relay we raced 4 boys teams on the inner lanes and 2 girls teams on the outer lanes but officially the girls weren’t racing the boys. I was set as the anchor which meant I could bring the race home! Our first runner did well as did our second runner. As I watched him hand off to our third runner I was certain that we’d win the race. Then it happened. Our third runner set off in a hard jog. He seemed to be thrilled but we were all horrified. All 3 boys teams easily passed him and moments later the girls who had lagged have a track behind passed him. My dreams of winning had been crushed to a paniced desire to simply pass the girls and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do that. I set off in the hardest sprint of my life and I beat the girls and brought our team in last.

Never would I have thought that race would become the metaphor for my life. I’ve been running that race for so long and I’m so fatigued. My race is different. I feel like I also have spectators throwing things under my feet trying to trip me. Can I even beat the girls at this point?

I have 11 minutes before the first team crosses the finish line;The first team just crossed the finish line. I have probably 2 hours if I’m lucky and not tripped before I’ll cross the first finish line. I’m not even on the track right now.

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