Blowing a Kiss to Goliath

Cor's Quad Track Meet at Highland

The Field Relays are an atypical track meet. For one thing, almost all of the events are relays. Second, the meet starts later in the day, causing the last several events to take place under stadium lights. Finally, this year’s Field Relays happened to include an epic encounter between a “David” and a “Goliath.” And in this particular encounter, David ended his race by blowing a kiss to Goliath.

The “David” happened to be my son, Cor. He’s growing up beautifully. But for now he’s a freshman. Who happens to be a year younger than many of the other freshmen. And who happens to be on the small end of his age group (for now). Closer to “middle schooler” than “varsity track star.” He actually does quite well for himself. But at the Field Relays, Cor lined up to run the anchor leg of the Men’s Distance Medley with five grown men. Like with chest hair and everything. The runner from Field was tall and lanky. The runners from Norton and Crestwood looked like fairly typical upper-classmen. But the runner from West Branch was enormous. Tall, muscular, and hairy. I think it would have been intimidating for me to stand next to him on that track. He definitely looked like a “Goliath.”

Cor's Quad Track Meet at Highland

Cor’s teammates ran a tremendous race. By the time the baton was handed to Cor for the fourth and final leg of the race, he was just a step or two in front of the runner from Field. And honestly, it became immediately clear that Cor didn’t stand a chance of keeping up with him. The tall, lanky runner from Field quickly put some distance between him and the rest of the field. So Cor’s best possible outcome became second place. But: the West Branch Goliath lurked just ten meters back.

Cor actually held his own for most of his leg. He maintained that ten-meter gap through the first lap, the second lap, and the third lap. But right at the beginning of the fourth and final lap, the West Branch runner surged ahead of him. Cor says this Goliath told him, “Good luck passing me, a$&hole,” as he zoomed by with about 375 meters to go. Even without knowing about that verbal exchange, it was disheartening to watch the fade into third as a father and a fan. With 200 meters to go, Goliath was ahead of my little David by about ten meters.

But on the last bend, Cor started gaining on the West Branch runner. When they were about 50 meters before the finish line, Cor caught up with him, passed him, and blew him a kiss before finishing back in second place by a solid five meters.

It was pretty epic.

His teammates mobbed him at the finish line. And even some of the runners from other schools congratulated him. His fifteen minutes of fame, if you will. Cor’s coaches later had a few words for him, reminding him to be a good sport, to act like he’s beaten other runners in races before. And that’s probably a good reminder. But I couldn’t stop grinning about it for the rest of that night. And even now, in the retelling of the story, I admire the pluck and pleasant payback of a small, skinny, freshman David blowing a kiss to Goliath right in front of the grandstands.

I actually consider it one of the best Track & Field moments I’ve ever experienced, personally. And I just look forward to seeing what happens when “David” hits his growth spurt.

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