Let me set the back drop by saying that the lunch special at work this day was beef lasagna. It was a slice of lasagna about as wide as a floor tile with a dinner roll – how could I resist that? Unfortunately, as I have aged, pasta sometimes sits like a rock in my stomach. It kept churning around like a thick magma and I continued to re-taste it about every 15 minutes – the gift that keeps on giving.
Anyway, my son’s last track practice of the week was at 5:15 that day and when I got home I found out that it was coaches/parents vs. the kids. I was pretty pumped – here was my chance to show my kid that his old man still had the jets. I took him to practice and was ready to run. When I got there I found out there was a shortage of parents so I had to double up and run two legs of a 4x100m relay. Just to remind you all, 100m = about 109 yards. That’s longer than a football field. So I sprinted 218 yards in about a 3 min span. That’s a greater distance than I have sprinted in about the last 15 years combined.
So I am the starter in the first leg and I take off like a bat out of hell – just destroyed the 7th grade girl in the lane next to me by at least 30 yards. I felt pretty good – the old man still had the jets. So I hand off the baton with my team well in first place and am pretty winded but not too horrible. Then I go to get into position to run leg #2. I start off pretty good but about half way through the legs start to get a bit rubbery – I still beat the little snot next to me, but not by as much.
Now I’m pretty winded and need to catch my breath. It takes a little while and I do get my breath back, but something just isn’t right. I really didn’t feel well at all. I tried to walk it off and chatted with some other parents, but I just felt like crap. I decided that maybe it would help if I walked to the car and sat with the AC on for a few minutes. I think deep down, I was a like one of those wounded animals that just needs to find a place to crawl off and die – some place secure and away from the all of the other animals. Anyway, after 5-10 minutes in the car, I become honest with myself and admit that I really just need to puke – that lasagna was not sitting right at all. So I got out of the Santa Fe and walked around to the back of it, out of view of everyone else, and just spewed like Vesuvius. Chucks of beef lasagna everywhere, including stuck in my nose. I walked around to go back in the car and clean myself up when another wave hit and I spewed again. This time was worse, not only because I could have been spotted, but because when I opened the door, my friggin ice scraper fell out of the door holder and right into ground zero. Dammit!!! Anyway, I found some old Wendy’s napkins (all sprinters consist on Wendy’s) and cleaned myself up and drank some water.
Suddenly, I felt 100% better – as if I had been healed by the touch of God. After a thorough check that I had no incriminating spew on my body or clothes, I went back down to practice and had a nice rest of the day. Of course when practice was over, I had to fess up to the boy as there were those large vomit lakes by the car. He had a good laugh – I let him enjoy his laugh and didn’t mention to him until we got home that that he was sitting on the very Wendy’s napkins I used to clean myself off. The best laugh is the last laugh.
Several of the boy’s friends did tell me how great I looked running – probably just being nice but my ego is taking them at their word. When we got home, I started hitting my son with the “Your old man’s still got the speed” line to which he replied “To go along with a lot of vomit”. He did finally give me a nice backhanded compliment of “Well, you certainly are fast for someone who looks like you. Fast enough to beat a 7th grade girl. Good job, Dad”. I think I made my point with him – case dismissed.
So although the cost was high – a $5 lunch special I will never get back – I was able to defend the pride of Dads everywhere. And that, my friends, is priceless. Well, I guess the price was actually $5, but who’s counting.