Tony's Take: May attracts the prom season go getters

When you see high heels or platform shoes on the track in May, you better get the chauffer ready for pick up

It is not so much of a track scandal or is it whenever student-athletes mention the word "prom" around the coaching staff? The initial quiet whispers typically get louder once the calendar turns to May. It's bad enough the season has been a "wash" up to this point because of horrid weather, missed key practices, and competitions because of AP exams (though this one is understandable). How about a mix of senioritis? But what can you do??

I can recall a time when I was in high school when prom season arrived and disrupted our quest to have great seasons. I was not immune to teammates missing quality time to go and prepare for their "big day." It is usually more than a one-day deal. For the fellas, it is getting fitted for their suits, securing a nice ride, and finding the perfect date. The girls, on the other hand, spend an inordinate amount of time selecting their dresses and getting their nails and hair done. 

In my senior season, I was laser-focused on the task of competing at my best. My main goal was to run well and ultimately get a college scholarship. There was no way anything was going to interrupt that- not even prom season! The biggest meet of the regular season was circled on the calendar in my room. Since I had no plans of going to the prom, I was asked several times to go to the prom by the senior vice president. She was someone that I admired and respected but I politely declined the invitation.

Recently, I have spoken directly to some of my coaching brethren and I noticed they have developed extra eye bags and gray hairs because they had to battle parents and their athletes regarding prom logistics. This means missed practices, last-minute altering of lineups, and making sure they can field respectable lineups for pending meets. With the 2022 season winding down around conference, sectional, and the state championship, it's vital to get a read on everything. 

Lastly, I want to add that although I am at times a 5-star general coach, I do have compassion for today's youth. I want student-athletes to get the maximum value out of their high school experience. After all, extracurricular activities build character and the lasting memories are priceless. During my daughter Sahara's senior prom as a student at Oak Park-River Forest HS, it was important for me as her father to be there to send her off with a proud feeling. I was a tough dad but at the same time, internally it meant the world to me to see the happiness within her spirit. 

At Lane Tech, the senior prom fell on various days during the crucial part of the season. This year, it will be on Saturday, May 21. That's the same day as the IHSA Girls State Finals. Fortunately, and gleefully our boys will have completed their sectional qualifying and hopefully moved on to the state championship a week later. If so, any one of them that have dates will enjoy themselves for an evening. 

I may even sign up as a chaperone to ensure quality control hahaha! Just joking! Enjoy and get back to happy running, sprinting, and jumping.