Friday, August 27, 2010

Accidental Semi-Fame.

When I was in high school, it was always my dream to have my face on the front page of the local paper's sports section.  I was a decent all-around small school athlete.   We didn't have soccer or cross country programs at my high school.  In the fall, your choice was volleyball or cheerleading.  Notwithstanding my height (5'6" in sneakers), I was a decent volleyball player, mostly because I was fast and strong and willing to dive headfirst into chairs. But never a standout. 

Basketball was my thing in high school.  I was just another short, insecure and awkward girl in braids until I hit my freshman year.  I spent the previous summer at one of my uncle's camps playing with boys and generally getting my ass handed to me.  But when I started playing with girls again, I had grown three inches and figured out that I was the fastest person on the court and threw the meanest screen in three counties.   It was a revelation.  I was never tall enough to play the position that suited my love of banging around in the paint, but I was quick and fit and fearless.  Won some all-state and all-league honors, but never made the front page.

My high school basketball career ended on a sour note when we lost by one point in a playoff game because I had fouled someone who made both free throws as time was running out.  I came back to basketball in law school and played on three straight intramural championship teams.  I still obsessively follow college basketball, but haven't played since I broke my wrist in 2004. 

I started running track in junior high school.  Softball was the other option and it was pretty obvious from my short lived little league career that I couldn't throw a ball for shit.  My dad and his sisters were all runners in high school and I know he was pretty pleased when I decided to run track.  At first, I just wanted to keep in shape for basketball.  But then I started winning races and was hooked. I won almost every 200 meter race I ran in junior high and became one of the best high school quarter milers in the area by the time I was a senior.  The best, though, was a phenomenal talent....and my teammate.   

My track coach (one of the best human beings on this planet) suggested during my senior year that I try training for the 800 meters.  He justified this by claiming that most small school 800 meter runners were 1500 meter runners that were stepping down and that my 400 meter speed would be an advantage.  But I also think he wanted to give me a chance to step out of Andrea's shadow. 

My big moment in local high school sports history finally happened during my last race at the state track meet.  I had finished fourth in the 400 meter race after I ran a crappy final corner.  And I was not a happy camper.  I had easily qualified for the 800 meter final, but didn't want to run it.  I was 17, hot and stubborn and pissed off.  I don't remember what my coach said to me other than to just run in third or fourth place until the last 200 meters, then take off like by butt was on fire. 

Somewhere in my parent's closet at home is a videotape of that race.  Starts with a closeup of a nervous girl in double french braids and striped knee socks, digging at the track with her spikes.  Then we are running.  I do what I was told and hold my position in third or fourth place until the last 200 meters.  The great thing about the video is listening to my coach's commentary throughout.  When we hit the 150 meter mark he's positioned somewhere behind the camera, screaming at me to go.  There is no possible way that I would have heard him, but in the instant that he starts hollering, I pull out into the second lane and put on the afterburners.  I held on and won by about 3-4 meters.  

My dad was working the track meet that year and got to be the person that got to hand me a small slip of paper with the number 1 on it as I passed through the finish line.  I still have that slip of paper.  One of the best moments of my life. 

My front page article came during week that I graduated from High School.  It was a good article chronicling my high school track career, which culminated in winning that state championship and later setting a school record in the 800 meters.


Last Saturday I rode the Crater Lake Metric Century with my friend Jennifer.  The even organizer is a friends of my parents and when he got notice that I was going to be riding, the information was passed along to the local paper. 

So here it is:  my second appearance on the Herald and News Sports Section front page.  The full article can be found here.  Not exactly the way I had pictured things turning out when I was 14, when I wanted fame for being good, not just for showing up.  It is funny how life changes.  

Finally, another fundraising plug. On September 26, I am going to be riding in the Portland Columbia River Gorge Echelon Gran Fondo.  The event raises money for the OHSH/Knight Cancer Institute and Livestrong. 

My plan is to continue to celebrate the end of my cancer treatment by finishing the 100 mile ride.  My goal is to raise at least $2500 dollars.  I also think I get to meet Chris Horner (for all of you uninitiated in the world of pro cycling, Horner is from Bend and was the highest placed American at the Tour de France this year),

I am halfway to my goal and need help from my friends and family.  If you would like to donate to help stomp cancer , you can do so online at this link.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Wish I had known you were out there I would have ridden with you too! I did part of the Crater Lake Rim that day. Didn't see you or your paparazzi!