I have my ticket for the Penn Relays for Thursday, April 23. I have never been there, and I am looking forward to it. In the past, it always conflicted with vacation plans, and then there were several years where I just plain forgot until too late when I saw the final results in the newspaper. But this year I found a buddy exactly my age to go with, whose memory is better than mine, and we’re both stoked. We’ll meet at the Marcus Hook SEPTA station and spend the day at Franklin Field. For lunch we’ll get a Philly pretzel, or maybe a cheesesteak, whiz wit for me. What could be more Philadelphian?
Thursday’s events are all girls. That day just fit my schedule better, but I’d sooner watch any bunch of girls than any bunch of guys anyway. Last year, just by accident, I watched a high school cross country meet at nearby Brandywine Creek State Park that drew runners from as far away as Harrisburg. I realize cross country running is grueling—that is the whole point of it—but, still, I was amazed that virtually every girl crossing the finish line immediately broke down crying. I would have thought crying would be more appropriate at the beginning of the race. None of the guys cried, or anything close. They were just relieved it was over.
The problem with the girls was anticipated, and so acute they had several high school boys ready to quickly lead them away from the finish line because when they cried, they stopped, and there were dozens more coming quickly behind them. At times, the whole area was covered with collapsed, disheveled, fainting, gasping, crying, wailing girls. It was a terrible sight. The ground ran black with mascara.
(A half hour later they were fully recovered, hanging out with the boys, high-fiving each other, and wearing T-shirts saying inspiring things like, “Go hard or go home.”)