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             Runners to your mark, set. Go! That was the theme of last year’s 2009 Track and Field trip to the Delmarva Relays in Salisbury, Maryland. It was an intense, event filled, two day excursion that left the team exhausted, fulfilled and knowing more about our teammates than we intended.
We should have known the trip would be interesting when our coach climbed into the driver seat of one of the two, eighteen passenger vans that were rented for the trip. Lead foot Coach Breeds had us in Salisbury in record time, leaving the second van in her dust and lost. We killed the extra travel time roaming Salisbury University’s campus and pretending like we were big shot college kids. When we returned to the van, we realized that the battery was dead and there were no jumper cables to be found. The other van was still missing in action so we were on our own. It took us twenty minutes to find a friendly enough student who could help rescue us.

Once our team got to the meet, we settled into our normal competitive mode. It was like any other track meet except we were the under dogs, with only half our team. I ran in 4 events and placed in each one. Overall, we took third out of 12 teams. People snickered when we walked on the track before the meet but kept their mouth shut when we left. I like it when we step up as a team and prove ourselves in competition.
 
Stinky, sweaty and very tired; we headed to Ocean City to check into the hotel. After check ins and a much needed shower, our coach delivered pizzas to each room. We were given the strict order that the dreaded beach practice would start at 9 a.m. sharp the next morning. Of course no one listened and we rocked into the night, talking, playing music and soon the sun was up. I think everyone on the team combined had maybe 3 hours of sleep. When coach showed up she had an interesting type of smile and we knew that today would not be a “fun in the sun” beach day. We ran, sprinted, lunged and did pushups until I swore my arms would melt, and then did everything again. Bystanders set up chairs and watched our practice like it was entertainment. Some kids barfed, some cried, we all knew better than to complain. Coaches’ smile got bigger with every set until finally the torture stopped and we were pulled in for “the talk”. Surprisingly it was short and to the point. Make better choices, and know your limits. That seemed obvious, but easier to understand after our bodies recovered from the drained, trance like state of exhaustion.
 
The rest of the trip was fun and light. Most of the team isn’t very social at school and I got a chance to hang out with kids I normally don’t talk too much. It was really cool. After showering and checking out, we walked the board walk, played football on the beach and ate lunch. We stopped at the go-kart amusements on the way home and raced, without working out our legs! We redefined “one way” with people getting turned around and running into walls. It was obvious right away that some of us should never get our licenses.
 
In summary, it was an awesome trip. Traveling with a team is always interesting because you’re forced to really come together and get along no matter your differences. We traveled, competed, broke the rules and paid for it all in two days. Now we’re closer and stronger. That year we finished the season with better attitudes and more like a united force than we ever had

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