Saturday, March 26, 2005

An Abrupt End to a Career in Sports?

If any of you know my son, you know he's the quiet type - at least around adults. He's got a pretty mellow personality and he's not - at least from what I can tell - too concerned about the whole social scene. It seems he thinks his time is better spent with the carburetor of a 1990 KX than a girlfriend. Thank God for some small favors.

He's never been much of a joiner, especially in organized sports. So you can imagine my surprise when he informed us that he was joining track and field this year. Whoa, where did that come from? Who is this kid and what did he do with my son? Of course we were pretty excited at the thought of him actually leaving the garage a few times a week so we were all "Yeah, we're down with that."

I can't tell you how bizarre it is to hear him tell me to pick him up at 4 because they are going to be lifting today. Weird, that's all it is. And I got to take him shopping for track shoes the other night. I've never really seen track shoes up close before and had no clue that have metal spikes sticking out of the bottom. It amazes me they haven't banned them from schools yet.

Daughter is also on the team but that's nothing surprising because she's such a joiner she would join the Junior League of the National Beekeepers Association if she could get her hands on a honeybee.

So, this morning I'm in the car with daughter waiting for son to come out so's I can take them to practice. I pick a few cassette tapes out of the door pocket and start looking through them and turn on the radio while we wait to see what new bits of culture are riding the air waves. It turns out there is an interview with Marianne Faithful and we enter the broadcast just as she is saying "...and this is my darkest album yet." Just as she says that, I lay my hands on a Leonard Cohen tape. I say "You think you're dark? Well Marianne Faithful, meet Leonard Cohen." And I pop the cassette into the player. Daughter thinks this is funny. Finally, son comes out of the house and we are on our way to practice.

We didn't even make it to the end of the driveway when he says "Are you listening to this?" meaning the mournful Bird On A Wire now piping through the Camry. "Why, yes, yes I am." Silence.

After a few miles he tries again.

"Don't you want to see what's on the radio?" "No, I want to listen to Leonard."

A few more miles and he makes one last, desperate attempt.

"How am I supposed to listen to this and then go to practice and actually do anything?"

I told him not to fall prey to the myth that one must listen to commercial radio in order to be able to perform at sports. Daughter thinks this is also funny.

A few minutes later, I dropped off my young track stars, inspired by Leonard Cohen, telling them to "run hard and true and try in your way to be free!" It's almost two hours later and I haven't had any phone calls about an "incident" on school grounds so I'm guessing all is well.

Maybe this is not the best course to raise a track and field star. Maybe it's not even the best course to keep them on the team. Or, maybe it will inspire them to leave the house more often. Who knows?

At any rate, if he does eventually lose interest, I can use the shoes to aerate the lawn.

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