We stood on the bleachers, eight of us squinting. I was one of the eight, a volunteer ”timer” for Maggie’s track meet. I was more stressed out than the athletes. The officials assigned us stopwatches. I got timer #7 thinking that I’d time Lane #7. Nope. I was to track runners and time the runner who finished in 7th place. All by eyeball and a quick twitching thumb muscle. Several volunteers fretted. One parent asked if I wanted to trade for timer #3 , #4, or #5.
“No thanks, I’m a rookie,” I said. ”Plus, the LASIK eye-surgery I had seven years ago wore out. I have mono-vision. I’m both near and far-sighted, but mostly near.”
It was easy work for distances 300 meters or longer. But for the 100 or 200 meter sprints….what a traffic jam keeping track of who was 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th. Eye tests should be required for parent volunteer timers.The guy with the starting gun had it best. Point up and shoot, that’s all he had to do.
“Don’t just listen for the bang,” one dad said. ”Watch the gun for smoke. Or you’ll be off.”
Maggie signed up to run the 100 and 200. I told her the 200 wasn’t much farther. “Dad, it’s TWICE as far!”
For the 100 meter race I recorded a time of 7.4 seconds. A WORLD RECORD. Nearly as fast as an Audi S4. Amazing.
The head official grabbed my stopwatch, shrugged, and switched timers. I got demoted to timer #8 (last place).
Maybe I’m better off judging the shot put.
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