The title may be a slight exaggeration - in fact, I'd say most of the members of the Flint Hill Football team have little to no regard for me. But seriously, what is it with football players? Actually, I'm going to lump lacrosse players in there as well now that I think back to my high school days, but for all intents and purposes, this is about the FH football team.
For the past year-and-a-half, I've been using Flint Hill's track for my interval workouts. Should I be? Maybe not. It's a private school after all, but no one has said anything about it yet, and, reaching back to elementary school excuses, "other people do it too!". Normally, it's dark and desolate in the winter by the time I get there or it's summer break and no one is using it; however, there is some overlap and, let it be known, I will yield to any practices actually taking place on the track. Disclaimer concluded.
The past two weeks, the football team has been using the field on the inside of the track. For the record, last week they moved up there after I'd already been on the track, but tonight they were already there. I'm not sure what goes through the minds of an adolescent football player when they see a bare-bones runner whipping around a track (donning a Michael Wardian-style backwards hat). I hoped nothing. I didn't hope hard enough.
It all started last week. I was in the middle of a killer 4x1600m workout followed by 4x200m, and I was in the flow. I snickered to myself watching the tubby linemen chug down the sidelines to finish their practice with coach's obligatory sprints. We coexisted peacefully. Then, on the third lap of my final mile repeat, some of the team had spilled over onto the track while they waited to begin their sprints. Let me clarify: spilled over into lane 1. Track etiquette faux pas.
My original thought was, "My track, my workout, my lane." Of course if anyone had the right to be on it, it was these kids, but that's hindsight.
I came off the turn and prepared to ride the line separating lane 1 and 2, just close enough to brush by him and let him know I was there (I had seen him run, I knew I had him if it came down to it), but at the last second he stepped off the field. Altercation (and forearm shiver) averted.
Today, I believe the freshman football team was on the field, maybe it was JV. They were running pass routes. I was running 6x800 (at a good clip I must say). We paid one another no mind and just went about our workouts...until theirs finished. Players began to trickle on to the track to make their way either to the locker room or up to the soccer field to catch the end of the soccer game (more toward the locker room, though -- football players can't be bothered with any other sports, a constant sore spot for this former hockey player).
All but three players had left the field. The last two fled across the track as they saw me tearing down the backstretch. But the third one had other ideas on his mind. He slowed his trot down and began ambling along the sideline, staring me down the entire way. In my great maturity, I pumped my arms harder and bared down him. My track. My workout. My lane. Within roughly 20 meters of each other he decided to cross the track......we nearly collided. Nearly. He timed it well enough so that we just missed each other. Meat had a good 50-60 lbs on me but I'm pretty wiry, so I like my chances if it came down to something. No words were exchanged, only a chilling look from him and a big, shit-eating grin from me. We each turned over our shoulder to deliver these fierce looks...then moved on.
For a second, I thought I had returned to high school...or Staten Island, I'm not sure which is worse for general cocky, thuggery.
Two near misses in the last two weeks...it's such a damn nice track, though. Here I thought I had left all that football macho BS behind after college. You can bet I'll be back next week...after a quick trip to the gym.