Take 5: My Holiday Weekend At MO State Track Meet In Jeff City As A Dad

Rockhurst's Zach Herriott & Liberty's Shannon Hall go head-to-head down the stretch at Sectionals

I am starting my Memorial Day weekend a tad early this year. Our oldest son is running on Friday and Saturday at the Missouri State High School Track Meet in Jefferson City. We are here in the state capital to cheer him and his Liberty High teammates on.

That means no new OTC column until next Tuesday.

When I was a high school athlete, I did not think anything could be better than game day. I would spend the entire week preparing physically and mentally for the next football, basketball or baseball game. Just slipping into my uniform was a religious experience for me. I took tremendous pride in how I wore my baseball stirrups calf-high and how they seamlessly molded into my uniform trousers.

Competing was everything. I felt sorry for the dads in the stands whose playing days had passed them by. I could not imagine the emptiness of being relegated to just watching and not participating. Then I graduated and started following my younger brother Tim’s track career. I could not believe how thrilling it was to watch him compete. I found the same excitement while watching my younger brother Geoff play basketball. And then again as my brother Jim broke all of Tim’s school records on the track.

I thought I understood what it was to want to win. What it meant to want to beat that other guy and call myself the victor.

And then I had a son. Talk about taking it to a… Whole. Other.  Level.

No pain is as great as the stab wounds that empty your heart when your child’s dreams are dashed. No personal victory in life could ever be as exhilarating as when your son or daughter snatches victory from the abyss of defeat. I thought I knew what it felt like to win and celebrate that win with my teammates. It is yesterday’s Krispy Kremes compared to watching your kid tote home a trophy.

Shannon is a senior and his last high school race will be this weekend at the state meet. He will run a leg on the 4×800 relay team on Friday at noon and then he has the last race of his high school career – the mile – on Saturday afternoon.

Shannon is a great runner. I’m not sure he knows how great, but he learns more about his gifts every time he toes the starting line. The competition he will face at state is overwhelming. Shannon’s PR of 4:23 in the 1600 places him 15th in a field of 16 runners. He is not expected to challenge for a top-10 finish.

But our kids surprise us all the time. I am hoping this weekend is one of those times. Whatever happens, I will be thrilled to be there as a spectator. And even more so as Shannon’s dad.

I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend with your family and loved one as well.

[email protected] and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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18 Responses to Take 5: My Holiday Weekend At MO State Track Meet In Jeff City As A Dad

  1. Ptolemy says:

    Good luck to Shannon.

    I’m sure every parent is different about how they feel regarding their kids’ experiences in activities like sports that are common with what the parent did in their youth.

    My youngest is living the dream of AAU basketball that I had and never had the chance to experience. But I am not the least bit crushed by his stumbles nor enormously exhilirated by his achievements. I simply enjoy watching him live the dream. I thought I would be more up and down with his outcomes, but it just isn’t there. I suppose it might be this way because, well, this is his time. I had mine. All I can do, and all I should do, is support him and enjoy watching him come of age.

    Enjoy Jeff City GH!

  2. b12 says:

    Take in a tour of the old State Pen while you’re there.

    Eats: Old Brick House Deli on West Edgewood for lunch
    Arris’ Pizza downtown across from the Capitol for Greek pizza

    Best of luck to Shannon.

    • Greg Hall says:

      Appreciate the Jeff City suggestions. Will definitely give one or both a try.

    • Tiger Jay says:

      Definitely Arris’ Pizza! It is a must go every single time I go to JC. Love the bacon with any other ingredient. And then after dinner, it is a short stroll over to the capitol and walk around the grounds.

      • Smartman says:

        Bill Sharps BBQ on 50 hwy between Knob Noster and Warrensburg is MUST HAVE EATS.

  3. Jim says:

    Greg, best of luck to Shannon. The kid certainly can motor. (I guess fly would be more appropriate considering he’s a Jay) Bring home a little hardware to the Northland.

  4. Dave says:

    Greg, nice column. I know exactly what you mean! Another must do in Jeff City: Central Dairy on Madison street.

  5. Uncle Dick says:

    BTW, they put in a security camera that watches Rush’s bust. I don’t know if it is supposed to guard it from vandalism, or catch it trying to score some Oxy’s from the legislators.

  6. MightyMo says:

    Have a great time. My second oldest (not the new cross country kid), has been educated to put his baseball uniform on the same way, just below the knee. His team wanted to go with the full length pants and flat bills this year, and we old fogies (I am only 38) were able to turn back the tide for one more year. I am not sure we will win another of these battles. Time marches on.

  7. Smartman says:

    Best wishes to your son Greg! My experience has always been that I’ve learned more from my losses than my wins. That includes sports, life, love and business. I could always explain to myself why I lost at something. The same was never true with my wins. Sometimes for no reason, defying all logic, and without explanation, good stuff happens. I hope that happens for Shannon.

  8. P says:

    I love watching track and field…..very exciting stuff and just qualifying for state is quite an accomplishment for your son! Hopefully he finds the zone and gets himself a PR!

    As a recreational runner I wish I had half the enjoyment of running in HS as I do now.

  9. KCPRGuy says:

    Have a blast this weekend and savor the moment. Oh, and grab some White Castle in Columbia on the way back to KC for us, will ya?

  10. Java Man says:

    Go Blue Jays!

  11. Fred Flintstone says:

    Also while in Jeff City, treat your wife to a shopping trip to Saffees Ladies Clothing store in Downtown on 227 E High Street. They also have a location here in town at Oak Park Mall. A man can score lots of bonus points for taking his lady shopping for clothes. Never know, you might get lucky!

  12. Mike DeArmondi says:

    There was nothing I enjoyed more than watching my kids – Gabe and Cortney – compete. Win or lose. They did both of course. And it meant more to me to be there than anything I ever did myself.

  13. kcredsox says:

    I went to the meet on Saturday and had a great time. I hadn’t been to a high school track meet in almost 20 years and had a blast, even though I didn’t have a kid in track. The mile race was fast, Shannon held his own as far as I could see. The Liberty 4×400 relay team kicked butt, what a great come from behind race. The best race of the day was the Class 4 4×400 girls race, what an amazing last leg by the winning team, the girl had to be close to 75 meters behind on the backstretch and crushed it the last 100 meters, what a race. I really wish Missouri would get smart and start the meet at 8:00am instead of noon, it was 90 degrees by the time the meet started on Saturday, but afterall it was in Misery.

    • Greg Hall says:

      I was on the track for both days of the state meet shooting photographs and I was in awe of the athletes and their performances. I do not make that statement lightly. Seeing these high-school athletes up close and watching them perform under pressure is a treat — especially considering the scorching temps.

      Shannon equaled his PR in the 1600 and finished 11th in the state. He would have like to place in the top 8 and made all-state but it was a very fast group of guys in the 1600 — and in just about every other event! Every kid down in Jeff City had a reason to be proud just knowing they were among the state’s elite.

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