SPC Indoor Championship, 3.21.15

posted Jun 17, 2015, 3:21 PM by Matthew Thomas

When you’re told to “pack a lunch,” you know you’re in for a hard day’s work.

My uncle knew the phrase and lived it.  After serving in WWII, he worked for 17 years in his hometown’s coal mines in southern Illinois until the mines closed.  It was hard, dirty, and sometimes dangerous work.

Miners had a special lunch bucket — made of tin or aluminum — that they took their food and drink in.  It closed tight to keep out the rats.  It might contain breakfast, lunch, or supper, depending on what shift they were working. lunchbucket.jpg

When my uncle died in January at the age of 90, my aunt asked if there was anything of his I wanted.  I said if nobody else did, I’d like his old lunch bucket from the mines.  Symbolism.

On the way to winning the SPC Indoor Meet in Plainfield North’s fieldhouse, Minooka had some athletes put in a hard day’s work, and the 4x400m relay was the best example.  That team finished third, and it was the hardest-earned third place of anyone all day.

In that relay, we had a freshman that had run both a leg of the 4x800 and the open 800m.  We had a senior who had long jumped, hurdled, and run a leg of the 4x200.  We had another freshman that had run an open 800m.  And anchoring, we had a sophomore who had run a leg of the 4x800 and then the 1600m.

All together, that 4x400m relay had run about 5,210 meters* before that final race even started.  And they had run those 5,210 meters all out in a conference championship meet.

They weren’t the only Minooka athletes who needed to pack a lunch.  Another senior sprinter ran an 800, followed by a 400, followed by a 200.  And another sophomore ran the 3200m and then the 1600m.

Now, at a typical outdoor meet, these are all tough days for these athletes, but today was tougher than usual.  Why?  We were indoors at a meet hosted by Plainfield North’s girls track program.  They always do a heckuva job putting on meets that keep moving.  Their meets are efficient, fast, and organized.  Their head coach should write a book on how to host a track meet, and she could — she’s an English teacher.

What this meant for our athletes was that all the races they ran, all the meters they covered, were completed within only about a 2 ½ hour time span. There was very little time for rest and recovery from when the running events started at 9:30 a.m.

My lasting memory from this meet is our 4x400m anchor stumbling around on wobbly legs after sprinting past the finish line.  She collapsed in a heap a few meters later with a tired, what-did-I-just-do? look in her eyes.  She’d put in a hard day’s work, the meet was over, and the clock on the wall had just reached 12 noon.

Lunch time.

Go Indians.

– Coach Thomas

*5,210m total breakdown for the math geeks out there: 800 + 800 + 100 (25 x 4 trips down the long jump runway) + 55 (prelims) + 55 (finals) + 200 + 800 + 800 + 1600.