Monday, April 26, 2010

Well after years and years of making plans to attend, and eventually not following through, I finally made it back to the Penn Relays, and it was fantastic. My father, my brother, my son and I were part of the largest crowd to ever attend the event, and the 5 hours we spent there were well worth it.

I'd say the crowd was 70-75% Jamaican, and although they were there to see the high school and college athletes from their native land, the main attraction was Usain Bolt and he did not disappoint. As I told my family after the race, Bolt is a legitimate superstar who can draw non-track fans into the sport. As soon as he appeared on the track to warm up, the crowd went crazy with cheers of "Ja mai ca", and the faint rebuttal chants of "U S A" could barely be heard. Even when Bolt wasn't running, the Jamaicans around us were singing songs, cheering on their athletes, and providing a fun atmosphere. There was even a mini-fight between two scantily clad women that was entertaining, and two feet away from us.

You see, the best part about track is not just the competition, and the fact that I used to run (Penn Relays class of '91 baby). The best part is when two, three or even four athletes are running those last 30 meters or so. Everyone stands up and starts clapping, and the athletes draw on that energy and start pushing harder, and the atmosphere becomes electric. Now imagine that happening 30-40 times during a five hour period, and you have some serious fun (despite my inability to accurately capture this excitement via the written word). I maintain that track and field is one of the best sports to see live (as is hockey).

Before the event, I was very concerned that my son would not follow the sport and get bored, but I could not be more wrong. Once I explained the different events to him, and what an impressive time for each event was, he was hooked. He cheered at close races, he talked to my brother and my father about things he saw, and he even focused his binoculars on some of the women (which made me so proud). Plus he (just like me, my father and my brother) was completely swept up in the Jamaican movement around us, so that just kicked things up a few notches.

A couple times I watched my father when he was watching me, and he looked absolutely happy. He had his stopwatch, his hot ass jacket (that he wore after my brother and I convinced him to ditch the Cosby sweater), his two sons, his grandson, his favorite sport and Allyson Felix, who he has a crush on, despite her being 35 years younger than he is. My brother, when he wasn't on facebook letting folks know his every move, also had a good time. I get a special satisfaction out of seeing him interact with my son and father, because it doesn't happen as often as I would like. I came very close to putting the videos I shot on Saturday on this blog, but I changed my mind. As revealing as I like to be sometimes, some moments are best kept private.

As we left the event, and made that two hours drive back to DC, we ALL decided that we would make this an annual event, and go back next year. If you have the opportunity, I highly suggest you do the same.

I bought my son a computer this weekend, and I look forward to the emails he wil be sending as a result. But I'm scared to death that his mother won't monitor him closely and he'll roll up on the wonderful world of adult film. I can only keep him from it for so long, but I'd rather him discover it at 16 or 17, not age 12.

I've Got So Much To Give - Barry White


Sab D said...

You can never ever go wrong with "I've got so much to give" by Barry White. My all-time favorite joint!!!! It's been my favorite for "years, & years, & years ...."

sixfive said...

damn, Allyson Felix was there? That's all I saw in your post, LOL.

rashad said...

@sixfive - yezzir. she was the reason the USA women beat jamaica in the 4X100 relay

scout said...

I love family male bonding (couldn't think of another way to put it, lol). Whenever my son gets to hang out with his dad, granddad and uncle I'm all warm and fuzzy inside. They're giving him something I can't as a mother so I'm thankful. and lol @ you being proud of him for checking out track asses, smh.