It's indoor track and field season! Some might say, "Oh, just pre-season for outdoor track", but being at
Wheaton North's Falcon Quad meet reminds me of the importance and sometimes
overlooked qualities the few months of indoor track have to offer us. This meet
is not in any way a top-level competition- it's an open entry, only a few schools
are competing, and it's not even scored. But this ordinary Saturday morning
meet, like so many others happening throughout Illinois, is able to show the
simple joys of the undercover season.
As we all know, track and field really is a competitive sport where you can't slow down your training or intensity, or else you'll fall behind. Indoor provides us with an important time to get our footing before sprinting full speed into this whirlwind of the outdoor season. At this indoor meet, freshmen and newcomers to the teams are able to try any and all events to see which suits them best, and I even sometimes see those who have focused on one event their whole high school career branching out to events they've always wanted to try. This simple joy of taking a meet to try something new and step out of your comfort zone can happen during the indoor season when nobody is too worried about attaining the top scores yet.
Although it's cliche, one of the most valuable parts of being on a track team really is making those connections with others and being part of something bigger than yourself. During the outdoor campaign, the team is often split up between events, varsity, and JV, grade levels, or training groups. But during regular indoor meets, everyone is there. The simple joy of having your whole team there and cheering together is enough to endure 18 laps around a tiny fan box track. And superfanning the 4x4 relay with your entire squad sure does sound a lot louder in the indoor fieldhouses. Use this time to talk to that teammate you don't really know, hold a starting block for a new friend, or learn how to help set up the pole vault mats.
While outdoor season and it's high paced work and intense meets are some of the best times to be a track and field athlete, it's really the payoff of the training from the time inside closed quarters. So, although it's easy to dismiss the indoor season and just wish for the days when you don't have to do a long run in single-digit temperatures, finding the those simple joys during this time of development and hard work make the entire season worth it.