Seven Seventy-Six

If you were here we’d be sitting on a worn but comfortable couch in a therapist’s office, sitting as far away from each other as possible.

 

The therapist…

 

(I always imagine her as female)

 

Would be looking from you to me and back, through spectacles too large for her face, her hair streaked with grey and pulled back into a tight bun.

 

Our “file” is on her lap as she thumbs through our intake forms.

 

Forms we could barely complete together.

 

I imagined she’d ask, “what happened”

 

And in unison…

 

which is something we haven’t been for some time…

 

we’d say that the other had changed.

 

I’d say, it’s no longer “get what you give” with you.

 

You’d say, flabbergasted, “It’s only ever been that way with me.”

 

I’d throw my head back and ask, “are you serious? You can’t be serious.”

 

And you’d be serious.

 

And I’d be heartbroken…

 

and confused…

 

because 

 

you’d be right.

 

Before ego, there was us.

 

There was passion.

 

There was love.

 

There were long road trips in miserable conditions, 

 

cd’s with our summer playlists, 

 

pit stops in shady places.

 

And now…

 

I got a taste of what life could be like with you on a high level.

 

I fell in love with how people looked at me because of my relationship with you.

 

How they treated me because you and I were so good.

 

And now…

 

those people are like mutual friends forced to choose sides in a divorce and didn’t choose me.

 

And so…

 

Everything has changed.

 

Well no…

 

not everything.

 

Not you, just me.

 


 

I don’t know if you picked up on it but the therapy session and the relationship I’m describing above is my relationship with track and field. It’s okay if you didn’t catch that you can scroll up and read it again.

 

This season marked my thirteenth year of elite international competition. And there have been a lot of changes over that period of time.

 

Lately though it’s started to seem like the changes are coming more frequently, and that these changes are making certain things easier that don’t need to be (ie. RELAY EXCHANGE ZONES) and other things harder (ie. FEWER MEETS, THIRTY SECONDS, WORLD RANKINGS).

 

It’s always difficult for someone who’s been around for a long time to accept all the changes that take place, it’s hard not to pine for another time when prize money was paid in cash and you competed for a slice of (if not the whole) one million dollar jackpot.

 

And I let myself get so easily frustrated, deflated, and discouraged by what sometimes feels like an uphill battle to become Queen of the Hill.

 

But the reality of the situation is this.

 

Track and field hasn’t really changed.

 

Since 776 BC.

 

It’s still…

 

Me.

 

You.

 

A track.

 

A field.

 

A shot.

 

A Pole.

 

A Bar.

 

It’s still…

 

Me.

 

You.

 

Out there trying to prove something either to ourselves or to others.

 

And no matter what kind of fuckery people (who haven’t experienced being out on a track grinding day in and day out in decades…if ever) can come up with… 

 

Stripped bare of all the junk we’ve embellished it with over the centuries…

 

and whether it’s easier than ever to participate, 

 

or harder than ever to break through

 

It’s still…

 

Me.

 

You.

 

A Track.

 

A Field.

 

And ample opportunity.

 

Hold on to that. And take your shot.