The calm before the storm. Sun shining, wind still, deep and determined thoughts.
“Do you play golf?”
“This ain’t golf.”
Gavin was close to the front of the pack when the race started. I was standing just above the track on a ledge with Grandpa. A large crowd of high school runners helping with the meet had joined the spectators on the ledge. There was no way I could see any kids until they were right in front of me. So it came as quite the surprise when Gavin ran past so close to the front runners. I yelled at his back, “Good job Gavin!”
I walked back up the hill to our chairs at the edge of the blacktop. Grandma and I talked for a bit. Soon we saw runners on the far side of the parking lot. We walked up to the sidewalk near the bus loading zone and continued talking. She said something about not seeing Gavin yet. I was surprised. It felt like a million boys had already run by. She really hadn’t seen Gavin yet?
“There’s G!” she said. I looked and saw a blonde head bobbing in sync with how I know Gavin’s stride. I saw more of his body just before it was blocked by the parked bus. It definitely looked like Gavin. When he came from behind the bus Grandma pulled out her loud librarian voice. “Go G! Keep running! Come on G!” She aimed her cheers across the parking lot.
“He lost his lead!” I was so disappointed.
“He looks like he lost his energy too,” she replied.
We walked past the chairs, down the hill, and back onto the ledge just above the track. Boys were starting to sprint toward the finish line. Grandma, Grandpa, and I cheered for the runners. Not too many kids had finished when I saw Gavin running around the back of the track. I almost did a double take. It was definitely Gavin. I know his run.
As soon as he got to the corner Grandma and Grandpa started cheering. They were yelling eloquent things like “Good job G! Finish strong!” I started screaming like the maniac I am. None of it was eloquent. I don’t even remember what I said but I was screaming as if my freak-out could make him jump over other runners like Taysom Hill jumped over a Texas Longhorn last year. Can I just say I love the smile on his face! Heath was at the finish line capturing a completely different perspective of Gavin’s finish.
Then a boy passed Gavin. I interrupted my own sentence with a loud “NO! COME ON GAVIN! ALL GOOD! KEEP RUNNING!” Or something equally crazy that made no sense. Obviously it was only a few seconds before Gavin had run past us and far down the track toward the finish line. I stared after him with tears in my eyes.
I don’t know how I was so mistaken thinking that Gavin had lost his lead. My boy finished 22nd, which meant he beat at least ten more people than he had in the last race. The race was 1.5 miles and Gavin finished in 10:04. That boy just PR’d like nobody’s business!