May 21

Tonight I went to a high school sports banquet for my youngest daughter. It wasn’t exactly how I was hoping to spend my evening. First of all, I was mislead by the term banquet. There really was no food. Well, there were snacks of some sort afterwards, but each sports team met individually after the event and my daughter’s coach talked so long that we missed out on all of it. By the time we got home after 9:00 pm, we were so hungry we simply stood in the kitchen raiding cupboards and the fridge for whatever looked good. Thankfully, I’ve cut back on buying junk food, so dinner wasn’t a total disaster. I found some Triscuits, cheese that wasn’t too dried up, dried cranberries, and a few celery sticks. And a handful of Skittles for balance. Not the best meal after spending my evening with a room full of athletes, I know.

The other part of the banquet that made it less enjoyable was knowing that my daughter wasn’t there to receive an award. It was really an awards ceremony for the seniors or those on varsity teams, and my daughter is neither. She’s a sophomore and a first-year track team member. But they required all team members to go for team support, and my daughter wanted me to go. So we clapped happily for the tennis team, the softball and baseball teams, the soccer team (which apparently had quite the record season) and the boys and the girls track teams. I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Oh, and when the individual teams met, we clapped for all 100 girls on the track team who were called up one by one to shake hands with all four of the coaches. And then I waited while my daughter stood in line for her letter and pin, and her expensive t-shirt, and pictures with all of her friends.

Even though the night wasn’t that exciting, I went into it reminding myself of one thing. My rather nonathletic daughter decided to join the track team. The daughter who rolls her eyes and tries to come up with any excuse not to do manual labor at home.  The girl whom we dubbed the couch potato is now running sprints for her school track team. And not complaining about it. In fact, she sometimes asks to go to the gym with me. And talks about eating healthier. And as I sat watching all the kids getting awards tonight, I know that one day I could be sitting there while she gets her own award. She likes track enough to want to do it again next year, and her coach (one of them) suggested she consider long-distance running. I hope she does. As I watched her taking pictures with her friends, I was glad that she was part of the team. For even though she’s never been shy or lacking friends, I know teammates can bring friendships to a different level and can serve an important role in character development. For that I’ll thankfully trade an evening.

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