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Gavin had his first Cross Country meet today. I woke up to an email from his coach saying there were enough drivers for 18 runners. There are 58 on the team. So she said that all parents would be responsible for their own children. At first I thought it would be no problem because Heath is working from home. His boss is on board with him working from home for all these meets.

The problem is the athletes need to leave the school at 2:45 to be at the meet in time to change clothes and warm up. I still have two kids at another school that lets out at 3:00. This is why I don’t help. I can’t. I can’t transport kids to meets. I can’t take kids on trail runs during the week. I have two other kids! They barely tolerate meets as it is. I told Heath about our new dilemma. The only solution was to take two cars. He would take Gavin while I met them later. Not my favorite choice.

When I sent Gavin out the door this morning I told him to be sure to text me when he was on the bus. The bus was a no show on Monday and I had to take him to school. I’m getting sick of reporting this garbage to the bus company. I’m really getting sick of their lame excuses and shallow apologies. Sorry doesn’t really solve the problem. This time their excuse was they had a lot of drivers call in that morning. Call in? I’m guessing they called in sick, dead, bored of their jobs but they still get paid well because they’re unionized. I don’t know. I was not impressed. This wouldn’t fly as an excuse if you went to McDonald’s and were turned away because too many employees called in sick that day and they had to shut the restaurant down. Come on!

Sorry, got a little sidetracked there. I needed to know if Gavin had a ride to school since I wasn’t coming straight home after dropping off his brother and sister. I saw the bus coming down the street. Anyway … long tangent to say that I also told Gavin to text me if he found a ride to the meet. His coach sent out another email later saying there were enough drivers. Whew. I had a feeling it would work out but you have to have a backup plan just in case.

We got a little lost trying to find the school the meet was at. Our phone directions were a little off. It’s okay. Heath figured it out. Thank everything holy I didn’t have to drive separately! I would have been in tears and texting Heath that I was just going home.

The school was nice. It was the perfect setup for a Cross Country meet. The kids did one lap around the track then ran to the back of the property, up an incline, and through the neighborhood I think, then back down the way they came finishing one last lap around the track. It was a 1.5 mile race.

Things we learned:

  • Wear hats – the sun was intense and right in our eyes the whole time
  • We were glad we brought sunscreen!
  • Black shirts are a terrible idea – yesterday was cool and breezy; today was just hot and windy
  • It’s worth it to buy water – I was surprised they only charged me $5 for 5 full sized water bottles. I chugged mine, drinking nearly the entire 12 oz. in one gulp.
  • Cross Country meets are way more fun than Track meets – four races and the whole thing was over
  • Gavin is a freaking rock star!!!!!

The first race was 6th grade girls. Fun race. I was impressed with the girls. The next race was 6th grade boys. They did well too. Heath stood at the starting line for every race to get lots of pictures. (Maybe I’ll do a picture post tomorrow. I’m not interested right now.) He said he saw all the 6th grade girls and thought they looked like 6th grade girls. Then the 6th grade boys lined up and he thought they didn’t even look old enough to be in middle school yet! So funny how girls really do mature faster than boys. The last two races were 7/8 grade girls then 7/8 grade boys.

Gavin’s race was last. It was my favorite. He started out strong. He was well within the front of the pack. And he was holding his own really well. While Heath was out along the course taking pictures, he saw our neighbor from up the street – Avalon’s dad. Jared said that he had been watching a lot of the practices and Gavin was running miles in less than seven minutes. Wow. What an improvement from last spring!

My eyes were peeled for Gavin as those boys came around the back of the track to finish the race. We happened to have set up camp very close to the finish line. Every race we walked down the cement steps and over a few feet to cheer the runners on to the finish line. The first few boys started coming in. It was so exciting. They were quick. The announcer called the times for the first couple of boys. Just a little over seven minutes. Dang those are fast boys!

I’m looking. I’m looking. Finally I see Gavin. He looks like he was running out of gas fast but he was still early enough in the pack I was so impressed. Later he said he thought the race would end sooner than it did. It was a surprise to him to have to push on further. Poor kid. He didn’t get his time. His coach always emails times the next day. I’m guessing he was in the eight minute range. I was freaking out! My baby was doing it! He looked so awesome. It was amazing. I so loved watching him race. This is what he does. He lives to run and it shows.

Gwen and Parker were very anxious to get going. “It’s over. Can we go now?” It’s not that easy kids. We wait until the very last runner crosses the finish line and we cheer equally hard for everyone. The coach didn’t have to threaten us with her wrath if we ever left a meet early. I know. That’s just good sportsmanship. Plus, I have converted into a BYU fan. By a family who never leaves a game early. Forget traffic. You stay until the last whistle is blown and the game is officially over. I love that BYU’s theme for the year is “This is Y.” No need to even ask when the first three games were decided in the final seconds. First two times we were on the right side of the score and last weekend UCLA found themselves on the right side of that one point game, decided in the final seconds. You just don’t leave early!

There was a boy from Gavin’s school who was the last runner. It was obvious from the beginning. He was so far behind everyone else. I cheered him on. “Come on (school name)! You can do it!” He was the last runner by a long shot. I love the team though. Gavin went running off with Avalon and another girl. Heath told me they were going to run the rest of the race with Miles, the last boy. They weren’t the only ones to do it either. Most of the team crowded around Miles running the rest of the race with him and the crowd was going wild. I didn’t see it. Heath did. He said Miles had saved some energy and sprinted over the finish line with his teammates. So awesome!

Words cannot describe the pride that swelled in my heart today. It makes me want to watch McFarland again. Heath said maybe we need to own that movie. I remember watching my brother run Cross Country. It gave me chills to watch those kids run. The races were three miles long. That blew my mind. I can’t run down the street to save my life. So I really get a kick out of watching other people enjoy running. I was in awe back then.

Now I see what Cross Country has done for my nephew, who placed in State for Washington. I see what it has done for him. Now I get to see what it’s doing for my son. He is becoming a man before my very eyes. Not only is he growing as an athlete but his character is growing as well. Man, how I love that kid!

Gavin was gathering up his stuff. His coach said, “Where’s my All Good?” That’s Gavin’s nickname that started last spring in Track. Then she proceeded to praise the snot out of Gavin while giving him an inspirational pep talk right there in front of God and everyone within earshot. That was pretty cool. She is invested in his success. She has been since she started coaching him in Track.

We went to dinner. Parker asked if Gavin was going to wear his uniform into the restaurant. Heath said he could put his clothes over the top if he wanted to. Gavin said, “No. I’m proud to be a Husky.” And he should be.

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