Why would one drive all the way to Harrisburg for a five-minute event? Why, when it's the Young Relative competing in a Mid-Atlantic District track and field meet. On Saturday I got up early and headed west to Bishop McDevitt High School, a pleasant drive made much easier by the 65-mph speed limit on Route 283.
The stadium was full of athletes, running clubs and family members who had clearly been to many large events like this and made themselves at home with their own tents and canopies, folding chairs and coolers. I saw one proud father wearing a T-shirt that identified him as "Arianna's Dad," complete with photos of her in action. A few of the women were wearing head-to-toe black robes, and some of the female athletes wore hijabs (Muslim head scarves) while competing. Everyone from the Marlton Track Club was very conspicuous in orange, and one mother was already getting hoarse cheering for everyone on the team.
Male and female athletes were warming up around the campus. I saw one group of young boys from the Delaware Elite Track Club doing sideways jumping jacks while some other boys from the club practiced their starting technique again and again.
Fortunately the Young Relative's race was early in the day, before it got too hot. He had us worried there for a few laps -- my brother was tracking his lap times -- but he won. Of course, all of us cheered like lunatics. He shook hands with the other competitors after they finished, joked around with a boy he knew from Lionville and eventually met up with us to receive hugs and congratulations.
His next level of competition is a Region 2 meet at Stockton University near Atlantic City later in June. Perhaps he'll pack his spikes without being reminded.