Because I swore that I'd try long track skating, and because everyone tells me that I'd be much better at it than I am at short track ( I couldn't be much worse and still be skating) I purchased a pair of Bont Spirit boots with Maple clap blades this summer from John Dimon, who I am bound to purchase things from every time I enter his shop. I always ask how his kids are doing in College, since I figure I am paying for part of their education. John and I are roughly the same age and like me, he struggles with the balancing act. John is not like me in that in his younger years he was a crazy nutty marathon skier/skater type guy, whilst I was just a little crazy.
All summer long and into the fall, I eyed those skates, envisioning weekends training in Lake Placid, and eventually competing at the LT Nationals, which were to be held at Lake Placid for the first time in 12 years, but one thing led to another ( see above post) and the event arrived and I had only skated on my LT set up once, for about 15 minutes at ST practice. Thinking that this venue wouldn't be the best to debut as a long track skater, I offered last minute to help out at the meet. I just happen to be a starter, or rather I just happen to have been to an officials clinic a few years ago, and someone showed me how to authoritatively say "Go to the start.....Reaaaaddddddyyyyy" then fire the pistol and declared me officially a "starter". How that translates to being qualified to start at the Nationals I don't know, but there I was ( thank you Spencer for the photo).
Now, anyone who knows me knows that it is impossible for me to keep my mouth shut, literally, I am always saying something, which I think is informative to other people. Whether it is or not may be in question, but generally people are polite and wait for me to take a breath then interject their comments. Starting is NOT a job for motor mouths. Firing the gun is fun, but then you basically have to shut up until it's time for you to fire the gun again. I did not know this, however the chief starter, politely reminded me time and time again that as an official, I had to NOT show a preference for any team or racer, and I certainly couldn't yell or cheer during the races. What??? Are you kidding?? This is exciting racing, and I actually KNOW some of the racers out there! I even have two teams to cheer for! Every fiber of my body wanted to be yelling like crazy. I wanted to race back to the heat box and congratulate the skaters who had great races and console the ones who didn't. I think I will have to turn in my starters pistol ( figuratively, because I don't own one...) and revert to my competitor/coach role.
This is my teammate Kelly, who also wears quite a few hats, but somehow manages to balance things in her life a little better than I do. She skated very well for her first year at LT, AND she coordinated the banquet on Saturday night. How cool is that, LT folks have banquets? I think some serious calorie loading is in order after skating outdoors all day. I hear that next year the timers have requested a hot tub and umbrella drinks.