Saturday, August 18, 2012

The long run tradition

 Day 12 - Aug. 18, 2012

Today I'm 191.8 pounds of rolling thunder.

It's always amazing where family traditions begin and end, some for good reason and others just slipping away with the hands of time.

Today marked what could be the end of a relatively new tradition for our family -- the season-starting long run for the cross country team.

Over the last three years, the tradition started by our older son went something like this. Get up. Run 10 miles with the cross country team (5 miles is for wimps, you know). Shower. Join up with friends and go to Worlds of Fun. Ride the rides as many times as you want. Eat expensive bad Chinese food. Come home. Pass out. Rinse. Repeat.

The ritual started, if memory serves, when our older son was a sophomore. Everything was new and challenging his freshman year, so I'm sure 5 miles was his goal, followed by napping. 

It's amazing to look back over the years and see how a young man has transformed before our very eyes from a round-faced freshman with chubby cheeks into the physique of a runner, who bristles at the thought of his sophomore brother opting for the shorter route.

“You have to run 10 to go to Worlds of Fun," was his mandate days before the long run began.

Today broke as so many do this time of year. Brisk morning air followed by a quick warm-up as the sun clears the trees.

As tradition goes for the team, those doing the long run must touch the toes of the Jacob Loose statue before returning to school. Without that, I'm sure some tradition is broken and your season is for naught.

Today the run was quicker than in the past and the boys looked fresh when they found their way to the statue in less than an hour. This time instead of facing the dreadful task of running another 5 miles, the teammates turned back to school to finish the run -- there were rides to be ridden.

It's sad to think that all the firsts of their lives in high school were now becoming the lasts. Last first day. Last long run.

So it was heartwarming when the phone rang and the older brother called home to invite his younger brother to come along to Worlds of Fun. To ride the rides. To eat the expensive but bad Chinese food. To fall asleep in contented teenage boy exhaustion.

Perhaps it's the passing of the torch and a traditional will continue.

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