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May 8, 2019

Spring sports in our local school district have almost come to an end. This seems to be such a short season! The weather is also now closer to summer than spring. Those windy, mild days have changed into still, hot days. The blossoms on the trees are drying up, and the bees are buzzing. The school kids are buzzing also, with all kinds of activities. Track is a collection of sports that is very popular with kids of all ages. It includes sprinting(1), long distance running, the hurdles, shot put, javelin, discus, long jump, and high jump. My son Robert has been doing the throwing sports: shot put, javelin, and discus. He loves them. It's a complete change for him from his winter basketball. The track team is also a very relaxed and sociable group. There must be about 40 students or more involved, each doing one or two events(2) of choice. They compete with other high schools, which means traveling by bus. These trips are often a couple of hours away, and so by the time they finish all the events, have something to eat, and drive back to school, they get home at about midnight! Being in a sport in high school is quite a commitment. 

I went to one of the track meets, as they are called, to see Wenatchee High School compete against Moses Lake. It's about an hour and a half's drive, across very flat countryside. The teams got to work, and I hung out(3) with a few parents to watch the kids throw. There was a consistent wind sweeping across the field that lasted the whole four hours that we were there. I was thankful that I had remembered to bring my coat and gloves! Robert and his friends stood around joking and waiting for their turn; they didn't get cold for a couple of hours, those big, strong boys, but they eventually put their hoodies(4) on. I walked around the field quite a few times just so I could warm up. And then with chattering teeth, and watery eyes, I watched Robert throw. He did well; he made a personal best in his javelin, his best throw so far. It's all about the technique, apparently. He showed me in detail how to hold the javelin, and then the dance-like steps you have to take to get maximum performance. Shot put was a bit different. He's one of the skinnier boys.  "Mum, you should see those shot put dudes, they're huge," he said later on. Some of the shot put girls were twice the size of my son. They were obviously built for that sport. 

When the meet was over, the kids filled up the bus and headed home. I drove with Robert, to save him some time. We chatted and listened to music, but I could tell that as the car warmed up he got more and more sleepy. He stretched out his long legs and tired arms, threw a blanket over himself, and let his mother chauffeur him all the way home.

1. 'Sprinting', from 'to sprint' is to run in a fast, short burst.

a. When I'm late for the bus, I sprint to catch it.

b. She's more of a long distance runner than a sprinter.

2. 'Event/s' in this podcast refers to each sporting activity. The word can be used as a special occasion, or in this case generally what is used in track.

a. Wimbledon is one of the greatest tennis events of the year.

b. Discus is one of the least popular events in track, probably because it doesn't involve running, and it is difficult.

3. 'To hang out' is used all the time here in the U.S. and it means to spend time together. 

a. Bats hang out with each other in caves, literally.

b. I love hanging out with my friends.

4. 'Hoodie' is a sweater that has a warm hood. Everybody has a hoodie, right?

a. He was wearing a large hoodie, so I couldn't see his face.

b. I always keep a couple of hoodies in the back of the car, in case it gets cold.