It was a cold, cloudy, and rainy day. Not only that but it was gloomy. The sky looked angry, the clouds were bloated and the sun was in total hiding. My high school track meet was at New Trier High School, I was hiding in the corner of the tent we made, covered in blankets, dreading when I would have to come out. All I could hear was the sound of the pitter patter of the rain against our tent and the sound of the gun going off, allowing the runners to start their race. There were two more events before mine. My race was the 200 meter dash (My least favorite race). In case you haven't figured it out I am at a track meet. I decided to quit soccer the spring of my sophomore year and join track to be with my friends. Keep in mind this was my first year doing track so I still was not aware of some of the rules and technicalities of the sport.
A little while later my coach called into the tent saying that “everyone running the 200 meter dash had to get outside and start warming up.” I don’t think that my coach understood that in this frigid weather we were in, there was no amount of running in the world that could even attempt to make a human warm. It was as cold as a freezer outside. I made a moaning sound and got up out of the tent in nothing but spandex and a tank top with a thin under armour underneath. I was freezing. I did a little jog around the track to warm up but in my head I just wanted to get out there run as fast as I can to get it over with and climb back into the tent and wrap myself with all my blankets. Before joining track I could never understand how people would get nervous to run. I would think to myself, how could running be nerve racking all you have to do is just simply run. Now I finally understand. So many thoughts run through your mind, Will I be last, am I going to be the weakest link and make us lose the relay, okay now if I come in last will I at least not get blown out. All those thoughts make you nervous and after all, all eyes are on you because you are the only event on the track. Gives me hella stress let me tell ya.
After I did my “warm up lap” I then went to the check in tent. I have to go say my name and the event I am in so they can give me a number to show what lane I am running in. My lane number was 3. This was actually a good thing, I was in the middle lane which was my favorite because I did not have to start so far back and I was not all the way on the outermost lane. I got my blocks, which I pretended to know how to use so I could look official and put them on my starting line to get in position. I took a glance around the track to visualize myself running the race really quickly and map out where my endpoint is. I saw that when I turn the curve in the track all my teammates would be there cheering for me when I got to the halfway point of my race. Let me remind you it was a cold as an ice box outside. Preparing for a race and waiting for everyone in the different heats to line up takes forever and I was so darn cold. My legs lost all their feeling and my fingers felt like popsicles. Finally they called my heat up and I set my fingers on the starting line and adjusted my feet into the blocks. I saw that in my heat I was running against 4 other girls that I may have slightly judged and felt that I was faster than.
I remember thinking to myself, okay as soon as that gun goes off you are running as fast as you can and treat it like your running back into the tent because all you want to do is be warm again. I hear the man scream though the bull horn “Runners take your marks”, “Get set”, “Pow” gun goes off. This gun was an unusual one because I heard it go off twice, but being new to track I was unaware that that meant stop. I thought it was a human error and he shot it twice by mistake. So there I go, guns blazing, sprinting as fast as I can. I took a quick glance to both of my sides and saw that there was nobody running next to me. I was so excited thinking this could be the first race I come in first! When I turn the corner and see all my teammates I hear everyone screaming “STOP” and I thought it was strange they wanted me to stop because I thought I was killing everybody. I was in such a deep zone of getting the race over with that I was not paying attention to what they were actually saying but when there facial expressions looked more worried than excited I started to wonder. I continued through the turn, going as fast as I could until about ¾ of my way done a man in a red coat comes out on the track to stop me. I look around and there is nobody near me. The man tells me that a double gun went off and that it was a false start and we had to restart the race. I WAS HUMILIATED! I just busted my butt and thought I was in first place, had the whole place cheering for me when in reality everyone was yelling stop, stop, stop. I was the only one running the race, everyone else had stopped at the second gun and I keep going. To make matters worse I had to walk from one end of the track to the other by myself with giggles and laughs and the whole stadium staring at me. That was the day that I learned the double gun ment false start. Thanks Coach Downing for explaining that to me when I joined track. That would have been quite the thing to know. Now that I was exhausted from going ham the first trial I had to do it again. So I got up there, still freezing, realizing that I wasted so much time and re-ran the 200 meter dash. The only positive thing about this experience is I ended up in first place in my heat!
I laughed at myself very hard when it was over with all my friends but by then all I wanted to do was go hide in my tent, dry off and get the heck out of New Trier. Being a basketball player at my school, I know that there is nothing cheerful about being at New Trier and this just gave me another reason. My track career is currently over, but I can always look back and laugh at the “double gun incident” probably one of the most embarrassing things I have ever done.