MAY has arrived and BSide has been gone for a minute. But I have returned and it's "Money Time..."
Several years ago I called this point of the season "Money May" after Floyd Money Mayweather, the prized boxer in case you have been under a rock the last decade or so. I live for this part of the season, because the meets are REAL and each week the meets are bigger than the week before. The pressure and urgency are up front and center by coaches, athletes, and parents. The push to the state championship is the ultimate goal, and as the hip hop group, De La Soul rapped in one of my all-time favorite cuts back in the day, 'The Stakes Is High.'
May brings a grocery list of things that are guaranteed to take place. The weather is expected to change and the temperatures will finally rise. The distances will go up and farther, while the times will drop state and nationwide.
This is also the time that teams or athletes you have not heard from or ever seen show up in the rankings. The athletes, who have been frauds all season, but have the local media and the communities hoodwinked into believing they're good are finally exposed for what they really are. The great athletes step up because of "Money May" and it's time to close the door on the pretenders.
May be able to bring desperation and a reflection of life by the seniors as they are going to their last practices and meets, maybe in life? The desperation comes due to the fact the athlete ignored parents, coach' and mentors for three years. The same lines have been given 'get your grades!' 'Practice Hard!' These terms along with 'hanging the right people' have fallen on deaf ears. Now reality has kicked in and they understand how fast these four years just went by. They wasted the first three and now each race, jump or throw is perhaps crucial in determining their future. I used to tell my son Mike Tyson's infamous line: "Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth!"
May also brings some coaches a sense of urgency they should've had all season. I see it every year. NOW it is time to get serious. I watched last week as a coach had a two-hour practice the day before the Jr high sectional meet. It' a little late coach, you think? It also brings drama where they are blindsided by injuries to key athletes, tweaking of relay orders and what event can we score the most points? Can we get on the podium individually or is it best to keep them on the relay team? All in a quest to stand on the podium in May.
Personally, I just went through a three-week stint that had me sitting on the couch with NO answers, feeling simply hopeless. I was at an all-time low, which is why you haven't seen any BSide articles. The thing was none of the drama was on the track; all of it was off the track. It ranged from death and mental health, to hate from teammates on Instagram to student-athlete eligibility. Subsequently, strep throat to emergency room visits came calling. There were calls and text messages from my job as I had no answers, but I tried to help the parents navigate through the drama and somehow keep the athlete afloat for the push to state. To top it all off, messed up weather was ruining training for the biggest meets in the biggest month. Through it all, the athletes realized what was on the line; an order was restored quickly on the track. The W's were being collected like Thanos collects Infinity Rings.
It's time to PERFORM! If you don't...Game over! Seniors enjoy every moment that's left. The rides on the bus with teammates to the meets can't be replaced, even if you go to college. The warm-up drills and checking in for your events could be the last time it happens in life. My greatest moments in track as an athlete and as a coach took place in May. Every year about this time, I think back and remember how when it hit "Money May" and the Stakes was High. My teammates, my athletes and later I closed the deal and made history.
This BSide is dedicated to Jaylon McKenzie age 14. A student-athlete who excelled on the football field and track that had a bright future, and is gone too soon. Rest Easy Jaylon and everyone please pray for the family.