Columns

2010.08.09 Weighing the ups and downs

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

I think I had a lousy day Saturday, but I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. I suppose I should weigh things out to really see how it went.

I had to get up 6 a.m. That’s not necessarily bad, but I went to sleep too late to get up that early.

I had to drive to Grand Rapids for the state track and field meet. It wasn’t a bad drive, but there are better things to do than sit in a car for more than two and a half hours.

I didn’t pack a very good lunch, and besides, whenever I drive off to a long sporting event I manage to eat most of what I packed before I reach my destination.

I watched as Phoenix Duncan nearly dropped out of the high jump at the opening height, then I got a so-so photo of Max Gautz long jumping. I hurried back over to get something of Phoenix in the long jump. I got some good photos—finally, something to place on the “good” side of the scale—but she never got higher than 5-2 and was out of the competition early.

Max didn’t make the finals in the long jump, but Phoenix did and she placed third. The Adrian paper said she shined at state, but that’s not what I saw on her face.

Brooke Bovee made it through the preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles, but I was disappointed in my photos. I knew I would have another chance in the semifinals.

Oh, the semifinals, the crushing semifinals. Brooke’s challenger from the regionals—another freshman—was bumped out of the competition due to a false start. One less impediment. The race started, she was leading the pack, then she tripped on the final hurdle and she, also, was out.

I took a long, dejected walk back to the car for the hour-long break until the finals, not that I would have much work to do that afternoon.

By that time I only had an orange and an apple left for lunch. My tally of the good day/bad day score stood at 3-10. Not looking very good.

I decided to watch the district baseball game that was also going on. Good decision. It was refreshing to watch some little kids playing. I saw a three-run home run and was amused by the excited mother of the hitter.

I watched as a man suddenly smacked his wife on the butt, just as a sign of affection, I guess. I don’t know if I’d ever seen that before at a high school baseball game. I wondered if I could quietly walk up behind them and do the same. Hopefully, she would think it was her husband again. I had too much photo equipment; I couldn’t run fast enough to risk it.

I went back in to get photos of our 800-meter relay team. I haven’t looked at the images yet, but I think I did better than they did.

A man needed someone to complain to and suddenly started talking to me about the lack of a drinking fountain.

I headed for the shade under the bleachers to wait for the next hurdle event. I pulled an old New Yorker from my camera bag and re-read a favorite article about a spider hunter. “One Dutch researcher estimates there are some five trillion spiders in the Netherlands alone, each of which consumes about a tenth of a gram of meat a day. Were their victims people instead of insects, they would need only three days to eat all sixteen and half million Dutchmen.”

The score: 8-11 and improving. I found a quarter in the grass. Brooke is not running her usual 300-meter hurdle race. It’s over for me. Back to the car.

Since the meet was in Jenison, I drive south to my sister’s cottage to help celebrate her recent clean MRI in regard to her brain cancer. I arrive and no one is there. The doors are open but the vehicles are gone.

I stop at my wife’s favorite restaurant and buy her favorite meal as a take out. I get something for myself and it’s really not very good.

A detour takes me off the main road in Eaton Rapids and I see new territory. Once again I’m happy to see the factory building that was converted into apartments.

South of Hudson, I’m passed by a motorcycle. I glance out the window and see that the passenger is a large dog.

I get home and enjoy good food. My wife and daughter Maddie arrive later. I get to see Maddie’s photos from her study abroad. A good storm arrives.

Final tally: 16-14. Not quite as bad a day as I suspected, but it still doesn’t feel like a winner.

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