(Continuation of the post Being an Umpire….)
My dad also enjoyed attending my swim meets when I swam for the local YMCA swim-team for a few years, and he became my personal trainer the first year I did the annual, summer Hershey Track and Field Meet. My father had also played sports growing up and, as I’ve mentioned, excelled in track and wrestling. He was the one, when I was trying to decide which events to sign up for, who suggested I run the 200 and the 400 meter dashes as well as, the standing long jump. When it was time to start practicing, he drove me over to his old high school’s outdoor track and field area and gave me pointers on form, start off stance, and take off. He would time and watch me run, observe my form, and then encourage me to do better and give me pointers on how to improve.
After the first local competition I made it to district. This was for the 200 and 400 meter dashes. Then at the district meet, I got first place in the 200 meter dash and second place in the 400 meter dash, so I advanced for the former event but not the latter. My results qualified me to compete in the 200 meter dash at state, which was by far my best event, and I won! This success came from my abilities as a runner in conjunction with the dedication and avid training my dad devoted to helping prepare and train me! The other competitors did not prove challenging enough during the race though, so my time was not fast enough to qualify me for the national event in Hershey, PA. As a runner, I had a tendency to get worse times when someone was not keeping pace and competitively pushing me.
I also did an 8K run with my dad when I was 10 years old. There were two of these runs my dad did almost every year when I was growing up: the Bellin Run and Al’s Run. This particular 8K was Al’s Run in Milwaukee, WI on September 18, 1991, the same year I had done the Hershey Track Meet. Since I had trained most of the summer, my dad decided this should be the time for me to run it with him. This was supposed to be, ultimately, about finishing the race, so I wasn’t worried at all about the time we got. I did make my own extra goal: I wanted to be able to run/jog the entire time and not walk at all. What an amazing accomplishment this would be for me. I was someone who loved to run short distances but gave into exhaustion when challenged with these longer intervals. The whole race my dad supported and encouraged me with words of wisdom and praise. He ran next to my side the whole time, and I will always remember the moment a photo was snapped of us during this race. My dad grabbed my hand and held it in the air, as if we were the winners, because, to us, we were! A moment in time I am forever grateful and blessed to have captured on film. I have held onto this photo and displayed it in every house I have lived in for the past 20 years. It is my most prized possession and encapsulates the emotion, strength, and bond of our eminent father/daughter relationship!