Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gateway Indoor Track, My Only Win (?)

At Gateway Regional High School, I used to run cross country in the Fall. In the winter, I ran indoor track with the same group of people. In the Spring, it was spring track with the same motley crew. The work outs were grueling to say the least and cross country was the toughest.

In cross country, we used to run up to 13 miles a day. By comparison, winter track practice was actually fun. I like spring track too, but sometimes the heat was G-d awful. Anyway, with indoor track, for those of you that didn't know, it takes place during the winter, LOL. We would work out in the back quiet section of the high school, running up and down the hallways or up and down the stairs, like 20 times in a row. We would also run these killer sprints called "suicide sprints" which involved running back and forth, turning 'round on a dime at the end of the hallway, sometimes feeling like your ankles were going to blow out.

The winter track meets were run on an small indoor rubber track. It would get so crowded that runners would constantly jostle each other for position. I was much better at jostling than running which is probably why I do well at flea markets as an adult. Coach Joe Focarelli would yell at me, "HAYNES!" rather cutting and abruptly, "YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR YOUR POSITION!" I did and usually got it.

Each runner had a "counter" assigned to him from the track meet personnel who would scream what lap he was on. It was just so crowded, these counters were indispensable to keep track of the runner's laps. I remember specifically running one track meet which would change my entire senior year season. I don't remember the location of the meet. I just remember that my counter messed up and thought I was in third place. As a runner, we typically lose track. You are concentrating on overtaking the next runner, not what lap you are on out of 20 or so.

I was running countless times around the small track and didn't know what lap I was on. The counter screamed at me, "LAST LAP!!!!" I thought, "Gosh he is SO rude and then I thought, OK ... I guess I am running faster that I thought!" So I ended up finishing THIRD out of 20 runners!!! I was so excited and couldn't believe it. My first placement at an indoor track meet! The first and second place runners looked at me like "Who the hell is this kid? Where did he come from?" The counter kept insisting I came in third; I frankly had no idea what my place was as I was panting like a dying dog. I was awarded a shiny brass-toned metallic medal which I still have to this day.

My great cross country, indoor and spring track coach, Joe Focarelli, stood by me, and yelled, "Haynes did it, that scrawny kid! He came in third!" I received the only indoor track medal of my high school career that very day. Woo hoo! Only months later did Coach Focarelli break the news to me, "Ya know son, I think you were actually in 14th place, but the counter was supposed to keep track, so f*ck it. What's done is done." I was a little disappointed but everytime I look at that shiny medal, I smile and think ... sh*t happens.


  1. Yes it does, congrat of the 3rd place medal. I hated running, so I played Football and was on the line as a Defensive Tackle. I got to hit people and didn't have to run that far. LOL :-))

  2. Hey don't forget about us shot putters on the indoor track team who had to run with you guys :-)

  3. Oh, I didn't forget about you JM, you were always behind me in my dust. :-)