Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oh DEER, Oh BABY, what a weekend!

If you told me Thursday night that my weekend would be highlighted by a deer and a baby, I probably would've been stumped. Let's see....Pitt Calculus Meeting doesn't really involve deer (maybe a related rates problem?), the runners competing in Hershey are amazing and tough--no babies running at the state meet.

So....I think I left off with the great pasta and chicken parm we had friday night. yum! Race morning was the usual preparations. It was a cool, crisp morning (low 40's), but the sun was shining--perfect for racing!

(The hillside says PIAA--Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association--if you can't tell with the sun)

The girls raced at 10am so they were getting ready first. I mapped out my plan to try to catch the girls multiple times out on the back of the course. Things were going great. Our girls got out quickly and were in great position to achieve the top 10 finish we were shooting for....that is, until a little incident shortly after the 2 mile mark.

Our first four girls had gone by and I was cheering for them and snapping photos. Our 5th girl was approaching and I snapped a good shot of her. I was yelling something encouraging when I see a rustle in the bushes to the right. Next thing you know, a deer pops up and starts running towards the runners. This was about halfway out of the nearly 300 runners, so it was a pretty tight pack. Wouldn't you know it, out of all the runners, our girl was directly in the path of the deer.

I didn't get to snap a shot of the deer, so I "modified" the picture that I took seconds before the deer emerged to capture the essence of the situation. The deer just plowed through, drilling the girl in red from CB East (#362) and knocking over our girl (in yellow).

The result was the girl in red down in a heap with a bloody nose and our girl got the football equivalent of being 'ear-holed.' Here's an example I found on YouTube:

The coach in me kicked in for a split second, thinking if I go out there and help her, I may get her DQ-ed. However, realizing that a DEER JUST BLINDSIDED HER I figured I needed to see if she was okay.

Doing my best to stay within the rules (just because that's what I do) I moved her over to the side, careful not to assist her forward. I checked her out--no blood, just stunned and I'm sure dazed and confused about what just happened. Seeing she was now pretty coherent after some time (30-60-90 seconds???....time was standing still!!!!), I extended two fingers and asked her how many fingers I was holding up. She laughed and said, "TWO." So, I told her it was her senior year and that if she felt good, that she should finish the race. She said okay and went on her way just about at the back of the pack.

I see that the other girl (who ended up with not only the bloody nose, but also a concussion and a facial fracture) was being attended to by two other people plus the medical cart was coming. So, I made a mad dash for the finish hoping I did the right thing by sending Shannon on her way. Turns out that she is a machine. Not only did she finish the race, she passed back our 6th and 7th runners (who passed her during the minute or so I was checking her out) and ENDED UP OUR 5TH RUNNER! If that isn't tough I don't know what is!!!!

Here's an article that talks about the deer. Apparently, the deer were in several places during that girls race. To sum that up--surreal.

As the picture shows, all survived the race!!! So, to come off of that (after talking the newspaper guy, retelling the story to all the parents and coaches, and still trying to wrap my head around seeing that deer plow through the crowd of runners), now to get ready for the boys' race.

Going in, we were hoping to be in the top 8-10 with a chance of getting a little higher with a good day. I round up the JV and alum guys who came out to watch the race and we head out to our spot on the course. We see the guys go by about a half mile in and they are in solid position (not that you can really tell and count places that early in a race). They head into the woods, pass the mile mark, emerge from the woods, cross a little bridge and the leaders approach us......wait a minute, who's that in the lead? That's our guy!! Gutsy start to the race!

Talking to him after the race, he said things settled in a little too much for him and he felt good so he went for it. It was a good race for him and he ended up 14th overall. The team ended up 7th, but only 11 points out of fourth. That's each runner passing two guys in the home stretch.

The exciting part is that we only had 1 senior in the top 10 of our team, a handful of freshmen knocking on the door of varsity this year (who will only get a year stronger), a sophomore who was going to be our #2-4 runner out with a stress fracture, and some 8th graders who rewrote the middle school XC record book coming next year. Exciting!

Also, amid the chaos, I found out at the awards ceremony that North Allegheny won the boys AAA team title. Congrats to the New York Yankees of the WPIAL!

I also caught up with Elizabethtown College XC and T&F head coach Chris Straub (posing with a couple of great XC playoff beards!!!!!). He started at Etown right when I left for Penn State and has done an amazing job. Something like 10 out of the past 12 conference championships for the men and 4 in a row for the women. If you know someone interested in running at the division 3 level, it doesn't get much better than Etown (plus they're great academically and socially).
They'll be up at Cooper's Lake (where WPIAL's was) for the D3 regional meet this Saturday. Beth and I will be up at Penn State to watch the Nittany Lions at their regional championship and meet up with some other friends.

Oh, by the way, after the race, I then went southward to Maryland to visit my sister and her husband to see my new nephew!!!
Oh by the way #2: JoePa won his 400th game as my dad and I were listening to it on the way home from Maryland (XM radio was never more useful!). Definitely a historic milestone that will never be reached perhaps ever again.

So, I don't know what this weekend in Happy Valley has in store when we go up for regionals, but I can't imagine it topping the excitement of this past weekend. But, I guess stranger things have happened.....


Steve said...

A couple things come to mind. You and I at times would look over a box score to get a picture of the game. It helps. Stats all help give us a view, but the story of the girl's race was the sad end of the one from the other school, and the valiant finish from the girl from your school. Would have missed it in the box score.

Joe Pa. Isn't that something?? I mean look at how many people have problems staying healthy that long. Think Urban Meyer. Urban looks like he should be as healthy as they come. Joe Pa is great. Guys don't coach that long. It is stressful. He must deal with stuff in a healthy way. Probably by being a mean jerk most of the time off camera. :)

Beth said...

Most excellent photo-shopping my friend!!! BAD DEER!!!!