Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sound track

Back in my high school track days, there were two voices I could always hear above the noise of the crowd during a race: my coach’s and my mom’s.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to share a story with all of you. It involves my mom, a camcorder and the 800 meters.

Now, my mom is a football coach’s wife, which means she’s had plenty of practice in the art of obnoxious cheering. Over the years, she has developed a superb yelling voice that carries for miles and can be heard above even the most rambunctious of football crowds.

In general, track and field fans aren’t pegged as a particularly rowdy bunch, but my mom always wanted to make sure I could hear her shouting my name over the masses. Especially when I was right on the heels of a distance stud who had a national title to her name and had never lost a race on Montana soil.

It was a nail-biter that came down to the last fifty meters. With 200 to go, I surged ahead, thinking I was about to hand a freaking Montana running legend her first loss inside state boundaries—on her home track, no less.

I heard my mom screaming for me all the way down the homestretch, but in the end my premature move came back to bite me in the tukkis. My competitor lurched ahead of me just before the finish line, and my dreams of statewide running glory were dashed against the rocks.

Still, it was my most exciting race to date, and I couldn’t wait to go home and watch it on film.

My mom was always good about filming my big races despite the fact that she suffers from an acute lack of cinematic photography skills. When she really put her focus into it, she usually did a decent job. But sometimes she got so wrapped up in the action that she completely forgot that the camera was, in fact, rolling. This was one of those times.

Here’s a short synopsis of her footage from this particular race:

Starting gunshot to 200 meters (video): Grainy and shaky, head and body appear in frame sporadically.

Starting gunshot to 200 meters (audio): “Let’s go Brooooookkkkeee!” [Loud but controlled, with the occasional “That’s it!” added in for good measure.]

200 meters to 400 meters (video): Bits and pieces of my moving legs are occasionally visible between infield spectators.

200 meters to 400 meters (audio): “Stay with her Brrroooooooooookkkkeee! Looking goooooooooooodddd!” [Voice growing increasingly shrill, with lots of high-pitched “woooooooooos” added in.]

400 meters to 650 meters (video): Quick, repeated aerial motion shots of grass in sync with arm-pumping as camera handler sprints across infield to better view race action.

400 meters to 650 meters (audio): “Ahhhh! Brooke, you’re right theeeeerrrrreeee! Go get heeerrrrrrrr! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” [Pitch approaching hearing range beyond human capability.]

650 meters to 800 meters (video): More grass and shoe shots with brief finish line shot from behind.

650 meters to 800 meters (audio): Cheering devolves into indiscernible, unintelligible words such as, “Goooooaaaawwwwwhhhiigggggeerrissssiieeeeeee!!!!!”

Back then, it was somewhat disappointing to see my extremely out-of-focus head moving across the bottom tenth of the frame as the camera dialed in on the stadium lights across the track. Now I wouldn’t trade it for all the YouTube sensations in the world.

I mean, I know how the race went—I did run it after all. But while I was running, I only got to hear little snippets of my mom’s earsplitting two-minute-and-seventeen-second shriek-fest. (Yep, I even remember what my time was. Sick, right?)

Now that her vociferous cheerleading performance has been permanently captured for all of posterity, I can go back anytime I want and reminisce about how truly awesome she was (and is).

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. And thanks for cheering.

1 comment:

  1. I love it, it's weird things that we appreciate later isn't it?