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Today is the last day of Track. The kids will turn in their uniforms of hot pants and tank tops, then party hard.

The Awards Banquet was last night. I was really excited about it when I first got the email announcing it. Then we went away for a week and it’s been hard to accept how busy life is at home. The idea of dressing up for the dinner no longer sounded as fun as it once did.

Parker had his last Den meeting yesterday and was only home for a short while before we had to leave for Gavin’s special night. Parker was not impressed we made him dress up as well. It’s ok, he showed his Idaho roots by wearing white ankle socks with his black slacks and black dress shoes. I couldn’t be more proud.

I felt completely overdressed in a sweater, skirt, and the highest heels I own. The shoes made all the difference. I tend to feel underdressed at church because I wear ballet flats each week. Comfort trumps style with as much walking as I need to do for my job. One of the coaches sent a couple different emails reminding everyone to dress up for the banquet. I couldn’t tell how dressed up we needed to be. But I had the perfect opportunity to dress like a lady. So I did. Luckily I didn’t fall on my head in those cute but uncomfortable heels.

Most dads were in business casual. Some moms were in summer dresses with cardigans. Quite a lot were in slacks and blouses. One mom dressed up her skinny jeans with high heeled boots. My shoes may kill my feet but dang if they don’t look good!

As soon as we walked through the doors to the multipurpose room, Gavin disappeared. He hung out with his friends all evening. It was a little strange. Gavin has never been a very social guy. I have seen some of the best changes in him since he joined the Track team.

Part of me still feels a little blindsided by the fact that he wanted to run at all. That desire seemed to come out of nowhere. Well until I was scrapbooking old school projects for him and saw something. It was his New Year’s Resolutions from second grade. He had set a goal to be a better runner by running every recess. What? I had no idea. This love of running has been increasing over the years and I didn’t even know it.

Coach Erika talked to us at the banquet. She asked if Gavin was going to run Cross Country. We told her that we certainly hoped he would. There was a signup sheet on one of the tables for the kids who wanted to do Cross Country in the fall. Heath found Gavin at one point and asked if he had signed the paper. Gavin looked at him and said, “I was wondering if you would let me.” Yes! Of course! He signed up and I look forward to the season.

With a team as large as this Track team, I was impressed to hear Gavin’s name as often as I did. I was also impressed to see how many times his picture showed up in the slide show. Heath and I stayed up late one night right before our trip to find some good pictures to send to the dad putting together the slide show. We only included one picture of Gavin because we didn’t want to be those parents. Other parents also contributed pictures and they must have caught a few shots of him running.

Gwen and Parker loved seeing Gavin show up in the slide show. They would get really excited. I loved hearing his name read over the microphone a few different times. His nickname is All Good. I love it. He received special recognition for a PR award. PR stands for personal record. Recognition was given to kids who had beat their own personal records during the season. Gavin said he beat his mile goal three times. Nice work!

The award was a choice between a Jamba Juice gift card or a tote bag. Gavin chose the Jamba Juice card. One of the coaches said she was surprised. We weren’t. He loves Jamba Juice and the tote bags looked exactly like the little backpacks we bought the boys for our trip. We figured he was sick of carrying something like that around all day. He told us later he would get more use out of a Jamba Juice card. I love that boy!

Coach Tony was a brand new coach but he was amazing. Apparently the team only received three awards in the championship race last season. This year they received ten. This guy loved those kids and helped them realize their dreams. My favorite story was when Coach Tony was talking about a girl who earned the PR award.

“It was a cold and gray day. It was just a practice, not a meet day. She ran through the dirt as if everything depended on her. Guts on the track, she ran full force and beat her personal record.”

Tell me I didn’t have tears in my eyes listening to that. They gave a couple awards for the most inspirational athletes on the team. I’m sure it was hard to choose just one or two per grade level. So many of those kids are inspirations.

I am so inspired by Gavin. He found something he was passionate about and he went for it. I didn’t think he would quit but I wasn’t sure how he would do in this sport. He took our advice. He was a part of a team as well as improving himself individually. I love that he has so many friends and that he never talked to us last night. I love that he still loves running.

With anything in life, be it a love of sports, art, singing, or whatever, put your heart and soul into it. Leave your guts on the track so to speak and just do it.

Is it weird that I feel emotional after that awards banquet? The coaches were sad to say goodbye to the 8th graders they have loved since they were 6th graders. I feel sad to see them go too. I also feel so blessed to have been a witness to this season and see what it did for these kids, particularly my own.

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