I have cried – big sloppy tears and plenty of snot – twice today.
For two different reasons.
In condensed form, they are that (a) I love my father very much and (b) I used to really suck at track and field.
In not-so-condensed form, they go like this.
(a) My father teaches high school math, and some of his students use social media, and I like to stalk everybody, and sometimes they post stuff about his making it really hard for them to get a good grade or he thinks they’re stupid or or or.
This gets under my skin. (And then itches.)
My father is an old-fashioned sort of teacher – actually, he’s an old-fashioned sort of person. Which is where I get it, so of course I am biased. Also, he’s my dad, so of course I am biased.
Also, I’m a hypocrite, because I have bashed other teachers, some of whom have kids. These kids could theoretically (if they have ever heard me) call me out for being rude about their parents’ careers. My father is a teacher to other people the same way other people’s parents are teachers to me. I talk about other people’s parents as teachers and say I dislike them for reasons this that and the other thing, but those people are someone’s parents and I bashed them. So I’m guilty as well. But this still bothers me. Maybe it’s because I think my dad is misunderstood by a lot of his students. But then again, maybe those teachers that I’ve slandered over the years are misunderstood by their students – including me.
However, it made me cry, because I love my dad and I hate it when he gets discouraged because of stupid people. So I got sad and cried, because I love my dad a lot and I’m a girl.
(b) Somebody else I was stalking on social media was talking about wanting to do a sport but not knowing what to do because this person was not good at any sports and HOLY COW THIS ONE MAKES ME MAD.
I ran track and field for seven years. No, not really; I stumbled along track and field for seven years. I wouldn’t call it running. I was pretty awful from beginning (2007) to end (2013). And basically, the world agreed with me on that point. So I sat down and talked to myself in the mirror about it.
When it comes to things like hardware and records and winning relays and qualifying for various invitationals, I did not get jack shit out of track.
(‘Scuse my French.)
And then I think about the people who did take hardware and records and things like that away from their experience with track. And I can think of a couple from my high school who got scholarships to run track at various colleges. And they’re doing well. But there are a couple who didn’t. I’m thinking of one guy and one girl in particular, both of whom I graduated with. The guy has gained 20 pounds and likes to hang out with high school girls, and the girl moved to Boise, joined a snotty sorority and gets drunk on the weekends. And those are their lives. That’s what they got out of it.
And then there’s me; what do I do on the weekends?
I run. I go up to the hills behind my residence hall and I run out to the interstate and stand above Pocatello like I own it and talk to people who aren’t there because I work like that. But I go run.
That is what I got from track. I learned to love running. I learned to love myself. Regardless of how crappy I am at something. And records will break and cheap trophies will tarnish but I will live my life and when I am eighty and gathering my bunches of violet memories (Lucy Maud Montgomery reference?? I need to go read those again), I will be happy with my violet memories of running, by myself, talking, to myself, alone in the wind and the desert dust and sometimes in the dark.
So, although I was crying, I was happy.