Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday GUEST Blog

8-1-11 vacation brain

Go Team USA n’ Collegiate Athletes!

Some things you either love, don’t care for, or despise. When it comes to sports, I’m on the side of love for most sports, much like my dad. Great job Team USA at the FIFA World Cup. Your run was amazing, and your country is proud of you. Congratulations Japan!

My love for sports has waxed and waned over the years but I do love to watch a good football/basketball game. I love … love my hometown team, Washington Redskins and old-timers: Billy Kilmer, Joe Theisman, Sonny Jurgesen, Pat Fischer, Keith Riggins, Chris Hamburger and company. I’ve added NCAA basketball, outdoor track and all sports of the Winter and Summer Olympics.

Of the many things on my to-do list, I have not attended a Drake Relays event. Yes, I live in Des Moines, follow track n’ field, but somehow have never made it to the track. That changed June 2011.

Three years ago, Drake University landed the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship for 2011 and 2012. The event attracts 30,000 plus fans from all over the country and it’s the “superbowl” of track events. While I had not planned to attend, my niece Catie had a classmate that was running the 100 meter dash otherwise known as “the fastest man alive” race and that was reason enough to attend. Next tickets, now I figure out why I had not attended one of these events, tickets were $20/$30 per day for a four day event. Here’s where an Iowa girl meets three East Coast seasoned citizens and a nice friendship developed.

While I was in line to buy my ticket, a man approached me saying “finish line ticket for $20”. What was the incentive to buy from him vs the counter? Answer = guaranteed finish line tickets. The weather was beautifully HOT and yes, finish line tickets/row 5 was a deal. The meet was fantastic, so many great athletes in one venue. Sad to say, my East Coast VA Tech runner did not make the finals for the 100 meter. I believe the heat winners times were around 10.15 sec and he was near 10.4 sec. However, all athletes making the meet are winners!

Of the many events I watched, I was fascinated by the steeplechase, I’d love to know the back-story of this event, and watched many of the races: 100, 200, 400 and 8000 meter races, both individual and relay. The runners were fantastic. I could write more about the race, but I won’t. All I can say, the athletes performed superior and I know I watched an Olympiad to-be and/or a World Record holder.

Here’s the rest of the story …. The three seasoned citizens I met turned out to be fascinating. Like many of the spectators (and I met a lot of them), these guys were life-long track fans and on their bucket list, they wanted to attend a Championship event. Bill and Mike are bothers and Paul is a mutual friend, from Eastern PA/Western NJ. After chatting with them on the first day of the meet, I met up with them on Thursday for lunch and took them to Mr. Filet. They loved the diner food. On Friday, we met up at “Peggy’s” (classic pub near the stadium) while waiting out the rain delay. There we met up with several fans from all over the country, all touting Des Moines and Drake University.

On Saturday before the final race, I gave them a tour of the Des Moines Farmer’s market. Not sure what got into me, as usual my chattiness got the best of me. My East Coast friends had a great time, loved Des Moines and the meet met their expectations. I got to pass it forward, one more time. Yes, yes … I know Marine Dude John was a runner back in the day, and he too is a Drake Relay Alumi. “Track shoes” hello to John!

Chat Later
That Girl, Ann Marie

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