Monday, December 8, 2008

Goin' Back To Cali: Saturday Was A Special Day

(Since I am not on my own computer you'll have to imagine
a picture of Coolister finishing his race here)

Saturday was the day that Coolister ran at Mt. SAC. For those of you who are not from Southern California or who don't give a lick about any kind of competitive running, Mt. SAC is a college that hosts an annual invitational cross country race for high schools in the west - best known as Footlocker.

So? Big whoop. you're thinking. Well, it IS a big, HUGE whoop. Because I ran at Mount SAC back in the day. I remember those treacherous hills, the horrendous switchbacks, the endless dirt... I remember it all!

We made the trip down to Southern Cali (that's what us former locals call this area - we're cool that way) and arrived the day before the big race. I had knots in my stomach. Coolister had more food than I eat in an entire week in his. We got a hotel room near the college so he could meet up with his team to make the needed race preparations the night before. (I later learned that this included pressing every button before exiting the hotel elevators and seeing who could leave the most plastic spoons in other people's pockets, unnoticed.)

The morning of the race, he caught the team's charter bus at 6:15 am. We (in true family fashion) arrived just in time to see him cross the finish line - and what a glorious finish it was! He came in with the front of the pack - his face beet red, dripping with sweat and with dirt in his teeth. It was a good race.

We then followed him around, his own entourage, as he talked smack with his teammates ("...and then I looked up, saw the guy in the red jersey and said, child's play! when I totally wasted him in the last 300...") and cheered on the runners in the remaining races.

(Picture of Coolister cheering on runners he didn't even know... he would name them as they ran by - "Good job, black shirt! C'mon Superman! Pass up green shorts up there!")

I'm not sure which I enjoy more - watching him race or seeing him cheer others on.

My absolute favorite part of the day was when, before the senior boys' race, I noticed many of the guys from Coolister's team gathered in a small circle, heads close, whispering. I couldn't wait to hear what hyjinks they were cooking up! I walked over, close enough to hear, and realized they were... praying.

(I wanted to take a picture, but it somehow seemed inappropriate.
Just try to picture it in your mind.)

This was the best moment in my whole day. I don't know how to describe what I felt just then.

What an amazing group of kids.

P.S. The 2nd best moment was possibly seeing the girl who ran dressed like a banana.

(picture of running banana here)

I was a little jealous, because why didn't I ever think of that?


Teachinfourth said...

The fact that he cheered people on that he didn't even know speaks wonders.

I was forced to use my imaginings with this post, and therefore what I saw was awesome.

Go banana girl!

Cami said...

"It's the day we get ready for Sunday..."

Awesome! Good job Coolister. How fun for you guys.

pam said...

Wow! That's awesome. If Coolister ever runs anywhere within 4 hours of Sacto, ya gotta let me know!

Mom not Mum said...

My brother ran at Mt. Sac as well! Congrats to Coolister!!

running stamper said...

As a former Cross Country team member and lover of all things running I totally get it. WOW! What a fun race! I can only hope that atleast one of my 5 offspring will share that love someday. So far their dad's love of swimming has dominated. We shall see.
Thanks for sharing.

Trish said...

What a great experience for awesome way for you guys to bond. Love it!

Chelle! said...

Hey, thanks for sharing!! Fabulous job Coolister and way to go Coolister's family for being so supportive!!!

Gerb said...

I realize more and more each day what an amazing kid he is.
Here's to awesome imaginations!

We DID in fact wash our clothes, but no shoe shining was involved.

You'll be the first one I call if we ever plan a trip your way!

not Mum-
Did you go to stake dances all over So. Cal, too? Because I bet we have been in the same place at the same time at some point...

I need to work myself back into running. Give the kids time, eventually someone will share your love.

I think we should come back and do a photo/video documentary of our old stomping grounds. What do you say?

I must admit we had selfish reasons for going to CA, too - including a trip to Disneyland. But the race was awesome.