Our school track meets were great fun

This week's Hammertime looks at the long and fun history of track meets.

I guess it was a long time ago for some of us, but how sweet it is when we drive past our local school grounds and see hundreds of kids rushing around in their shorts and T-shirts taking part in their annual summer track meets. Not only is it a super chance for all the guys and gals and their teachers to get out of class for a whole day and hang out together, it is also a neat way to show off your athletic skills and strut your stuff in the sunshine.

These annual school track and field meets have surely been around for countless decades, and it doesn’t really matter if you are a participant, a judge, a parent, a volunteer at the finish line or the treat shack, or just a real good fan….each and every student is a big part of ‘the fresh air team.’ At noon, everyone sits around in a circle for snacks, except for those who sold their bag lunches and snuck out to go to the local pool hall for a quick game. After the finals in the afternoon, the ribbons are handed out, then it’s time to head to your bus or bike after one of the best days of the year. Some of our track stars may even get a chance to compete the following week at the central zone meet or the provincials where they will proudly wear the traditional Broncs and Aces colors and letters.

About the only thing that little old me was good at in those classic school track meets was running, as fast as I could, because I was always somewhat of a ‘motor mouth’ and was usually being chased by the bigger boys or the tougher girls. As far as the other events the shot-put and the discus were way too heavy, I was so short that I could only run under the high jump bar, if I was allowed to throw the javelin everyone would need a shield, and my best effort at the long jump always had me landing hard on my butt way before getting to the soft sand. Whatever the case, we always tried to give it our very best effort, and win or lose, you cheered for everyone else, whether they were good buddies or not. I will never forget way back in the 1950s and beyond when tough farm boys like Howie Smith, Dick Osokin and Don Trenerry, as well talented young lassies like Lynn Treleaven, Nadine McCoy, Cathy Galusha and so many others were breaking Provincial High School Track and Field records while they were still competing in junior high. Both the Ponoka Junior High and Ponoka Composite High Schools have always enjoyed great success in track and field and cross country competitions, a proud tradition that carries on to the present day.

What all of our gung-ho students have always looked forward to down through the ages is that once the invigorating track and field season was over, it is back to the books for a month of heavy study before surviving final exams, and then with great joy, they head out for two glorious months of summer holidays, sun and sand with family and buddies, and absolutely no homework.

Have a great ball season

We all watch a lot of baseball these days, and as proud Canadians, most of us are likely pulling for the Blue Jays. The umpires, just like our hockey referees, are those brave souls who have to stay out there for the whole game, quite often getting yelled at or hit by a foul tip, but should be allowed to make a few errors just like the players do. After a wild baseball game with lots of ejections and questioned calls three umpires were asked by reporters how they distinguished between balls and strikes. The first umpire explained “Well, some pitches are balls and some are strikes and I call them as I see them.’ The second answered ‘Some are balls and some are strikes and I call them as they are”, and then the third ump replied, “Some are balls and some are strikes, but they ain’t nothin’ til I call em..’ Play hard, play fair, have fun, and always make sure to have a great week, all of you.

 

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