When Transcript-Bulletin sports editor Mark Watson asked me to cover the state track meet last Friday and Saturday, I was pretty excited. When our photo editor Francie Aufdemorte asked me to bring a company camera, I was eccstatic. When my car broke down and I couldn’t watch the jr high district meet, I was a little dissapointed — for more than just the car trouble.
I’m a track guy.
I can only guess the excitement I feel reporting on Tooele County’s track and field athletes is similar — though likely much less intense — to the emotions my dad felt watching and experiencing the sport with me growing up.
My dad is easily my biggest influence in the sport. He let me run around on the track and infield as a toddler while working as a triple jump official at the Simplot Games, entered me in Salt Lake County’s youth track clubs from 8-years-old and introduced me to all the high school coaches by the time I was a freshman. We always watched NCAA meets when they were on TV, never missed an Olympic race until my mission and spent hours looking up YouTube vidoes so I could become a better pole vaulter in high school. He even accepted a head coaching job at my high school while I was an upperclassmen and still coaches there today.
I guess it runs in the family, because when I called to tell him I was assigned the go-to track reporter at the Transcript-Bulletin, he was pretty happy for me.
When the Stansbury boys 4×100 missed out on Ben Lomond’s state record from 1985 by a few hundreths of a second, I was happy for a championship but dissapointed because the record was one perfect exchange away.
When I heard about Grantsville’s mother-daughter story between Traci and Hailey Stevens, I couldn’t help but think of my high school days of riding to and from practice and meets with my dad.
When I learned of Garrett Webb’s sledding accident that left him in a coma, my heart dropped a little, but when I watched him receive the Willie Cowden award from his wheelchair Saturday, it was in my throat.
I was jealous to find out there’s a junior high championship meet in Tooele County — I would have loved to race other middle school students when I was in seventh and eighth grade. I was surprised to see so many records were broken at this year’s meet, and even more surprised to see one was shattered by about 20 seconds.
I laughed when I was razzed by Tooele coaches about being the son of a Hillcrest coach, and laughed again when I heard stories of Stansbury varsity athletes leaping into the long jump pits at the junior high meet.
I was excited when Brindisy Russell and Sean York did so well at the state meet. It was cool to hear about Connor Collings’ foot-and-a-half personal record that helped him finish fourth from the first flight in the long jump. It was awesome to watch the Stansbury sprinters rack up points in all three distances.
When I find out cool things like these stories, I can’t help but share them immediately — I guess that’s what also makes me a news guy — and my dad is the first person I call.
He’s usually just as excited as I am.