Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spectators need electrolytes too

Last weekend, I had to—excuse me, got to—photograph a cross country meet for the newspaper. As I was scrolling through my shoot, I realized that my photos were basically a fragmented visual chronology of how the race played out. So I thought, what if I applied the same concept to a written account of my experience at the same event?

After several days of drinking herbal tea and not shaving my legs, I was feeling pretty artistic. So here you go—my experimental venture into the world of fragmentary literature:

Boom! There they go. A lot of skinny people. Click, click, click. Did I get him?
OK, where next? Follow the herd. The herd is too slow. This camera is heavy. Leaders already at the turn? Cut across to the hill. Good Lord, it’s hot. Am I sweating? Rhetorical.

“Bill, where do we go to see him next? Wait, I can’t move that fast in these shoes!”

Watch out for rocks. And holes. Bump. Was that a child? Oops, sorry kid. Up the hill—God, this thing is heavy. Hold it out in front. Are you an idiot? Worth more than your life. Three points of contact. Like a football.

Up we go. Am I out of shape? Huff. Puff.

“Must be a lot harder running with that thing! Take it easy!”

Shut. Up.

“I don’t see him! Oh no, shouldn’t he be closer to the front? What’s wrong with him?”

Just in time for the front runners. Click, click, click. They look tired. Hot. Uncomfortable. Tell me about it.

“That’s it, Brian! Right on pace—you’ve got a good one going! Stride it out, now—just like we practiced. 10:25, 10:26, 10:27…Good job, Gabe! Work your way up to Brian, that’s it!”

“Oh my gosh, Dave, do you see the kid in front? How is it possible that he’s that far ahead?”

“Hey camera girl, get off the course! Runners coming!”

Click, click, click. Got it. Side step. Time to spare. Settle down, Mr. Panties-in-a-bunch.

Downhill. Not too fast. Plenty of time. Finish line. Spot? Crap, the other photog stole it. I guess this works. Crouch down. Flags! Overzealous runner moms! Out of my frame!

“Woo hoo! Way to go, all the way through!”

Click, click, click. Boring. Blow out. No expression. Wait for the stragglers. Much more dramatic.

Whoa, turbo. Working hard for 58th place. Right on.

Gatorade? Thanks, I’d love some. Cheers.

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