My daughter runs cross country for her high school. The cross country team is more of a cross country family; they're very supportive of each other and have a lot of fun.
Before each meet, a family hosts a team potluck. And during each meet, two or three families join forces to provide food and drinks. Cross country meets can be all-day affairs, and the runners have to be careful what they eat before their race. Providing food and beverages takes some of the stress off the kids and allows them to focus on running. I signed up to assist with food last weekend.
We have several "wow" parents on this team. They're the parents who've had kids in cross country for years. They are pros at organizing food. They know where to go, what to bring, and how to make the process go smoothly. I was really thrilled to be helping one such family. They brought a huge pop-up tent, tarps for the kids to sit on, two portable tables, a trash can, and tons of healthy snacks. They also brought butane burners to cook chicken and noodles for the kids! I was impressed!
My job was to bring all the beverages, two coolers with ice, and desserts. The meet was an hour and a half away, and smaller schools had been racing all morning. This meant the parking situation would be grim. Our races didn't start until 3pm, but I left at 11:00am to be safe.
As I neared the park entrance, traffic was stopped. Cars lined the streets for a good mile. Most meets I've been to have one main entrance, so when the parking lot is full, you can't hold up traffic but must drive through and park elsewhere. I was able to inch my car within a block of the entrance. On a grassy area in front of a sidewalk, I unloaded both coolers, extra cases of water and Gatorade, and my chair, mini-cooler, and bag of desserts. Then I turned around and parked less than a mile away.
Now I had to find the tent. I texted the mom in charge of the food, but I couldn't get a hold of her. I figured I'd pull all my stuff into the park and have either our students or the other family help me carry everything to the tent. But...I had no idea where they'd set up.
Carrying the case of water a quarter mile into the park about killed me. The case of Gatorade wasn't bad. But the cooler without wheels? I was drenched in sweat by the time I managed to get it to the entrance. I dragged the other one in, sat on it, and contemplated how out-of-shape I was. Seriously, my face was on fire, and my shirt was wet from perspiration.
Just then, the school bus with our cross country team pulled up. The coach hopped off and put one of the coolers on the bus, but a traffic director yelled at us to keep it moving. The coach helped me carry the other cooler through the park to the tent. Again, this taxed my poor, out-of-shape body, but I made it without having a stroke.
When we got to the tent, I realized you could actually drive around the entire park. I could have driven straight to the tent, unloaded, and THEN found a parking spot a mile away. Ugh! I felt like an idiot!!
Oh well, I got the drinks there--that's the important thing. We stayed for six hours of races, and I was amazed at how many teams fit in this park. Almost 600 girls ran in my daughter's race, and around 8000 kids compete throughout the day. What a cool experience to watch!
I'm still sore. My back is crying a little. (Okay, a lot!) But it was worth it. And now I know what to do next year...
Have you ever felt like an idiot because you didn't have enough information to make a good decision?
Have a terrific day!