Thursday, May 23, 2013

"I'm pretty tired."

My daughter ran track for the first time this year.  She's fast.  Has some real talent.  Everyone says so.  She competed at the "All County" meet yesterday afternoon and was 7th seed.  That's pretty good considering that there were over 30 girls entered and, as I said, this is her first time out.

She took off like a shot, ran the first three quarters of the race in a solid second place.  Didn't let anyone get by until she was so tired there was nothing left.  Two girls fought to get around (first place girl will probably be in the olympics - she's in a totally different league) but they just couldn't - all the way to the end.  My wife and I watched from the finish line and saw some sprinting, clear sign of bad pacing in the 800, some gagging, but mostly, we saw exhausted compettitors that ran a tough race in very hot conditions, all well behind our angel.

I couldn't have been prouder.  She was fourth in the county.  All the pressure, all the EVERYTHING and she was FOURTH!  Wasn't good enough for her.  She was miserable.  Here's the scene.

Mom and Dad, hot from being in the sun, excited about the great meet.  Girl, arms crossed, staring out the window.
                                      Wow, that was awesome.


                                      What's wrong?

                                       I didn't win.

                                       You beat 26 other girls.

                                       I didn't beat HER.  I didn't win.

                                       It was your FIRST big meet.  You blew them away.
                                       Everybody was trying to catch you.


                                       You are your Father's daughter.

It made me laugh.  She is.  She went into that competition with every expectation of winning.  Don't tell her the odds.  Don't tell her to be satisfied with second best, or fourth best.  When we got home she wanted me to start her on a training program for next year.  The school record in the 800 wasn't enough.  She wants to win All County next year.  That's motivation.  It's from the inside.

Writing is like running track.  You have a team of supporters around you, cheering you on, offering you advice.  There's an internet full of strategies and techniques.  But the work, and the actual race, is all up to you - running out there all alone while everybody else just watches.  As a writer, you have to sit and type.  You have to dream up the ideas and keep pushing them out.  Thirty girls ran her event but only one of them could be first.  The odds for selling and producing a feature are even worse.  To win we have to practice, build our strength, and compete.  And when we lose we have to go back out and keep training so that we can compete again.

I asked if she could hear me cheering her on.  She laughed and said she could hear me all the way over on the other side of the track.  I hope you have someone cheering for you.  When I shared the news about my official loss in the contest with my "teammates" they consoled me, and then asked what I was going to be working on (and entering) next.  They can't run my race, I have to do that alone, but I can hear them chanting my name.  I will win next time.


  1. Isn't the Olympics with only 3 medals per event that makes 4th seem worse than not finishing. I think she accomplished a great deal. A lot of it will be tactics too -- winning from the front is for the very tough -- but then I don't know the 800 very well.

    1. I've read quite about about medaling in the olympics. You want to win the Gold, Bronze, or finish way in the back. Being 2nd or 4th leads to terrible depression. I guess there's no consolation in being "the first loser."