(An ode to the Montgomery XC team by Val Sell)

’Twas the night before practice and all through the house,             Every creature was running, including the mouse.                                    The singlets were hung by the chimney with care,                                         In hopes that fast times soon would be there.

The athletes were nestled all snug in their beds,                                        While visions of torture danced through their heads.                             And Karen with her Banjo and Brad in his cap,                                                  The coaches were ready, soon needing a nap.

When out on the track there arose such a clatter,                                                   I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.                                              Laced up my old shoes, and then ran oh so fast,                                                 The field I would go, like the youth from my past.

The moon on the breast of the up coming season,                                         Gave the light of mid-day, for all the good reasons.                                   When what to my wondering eyes should appear,                                             But the kids doing warmups, some chasing a deer.

With the boys at the lead, so lively and quick,                                                              I knew in a moment, it must be ole SLICK.                                                            More rapid than Pumas, his mates they all came,                                           He whistled and shouted, and called them by name.

Now, JAZZY! now, JESSIE! now PEETY and MAYO!                                            On, NOODLE! on, ACORN! on, SKIPPER and CHEETO!                               To the curve on the line, the start I will call,                                                          Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

With summer came Humboldt, hill training and more,                              Dorm slumber, hall dining, and talks while you snore.                                      The runs were a plenty and the stairs were a sight,                                                If you woke before Kevin, you would be alright.

 The miles now run, and the team looking good,                                                  Now surely was time, to return to the hood.                                                             So run as they might, as I stood all aglow,                                                                  The coach had high hopes, with her ducks in a row.

The season then started, with all the new faces,                                                   The oldies, the newbies, and all kinds of paces.                                                      The days they were hot, and through it high-n-low,                                              Our only retreat, was to swim Il-San-Jo.

The park was their friend, the place they would train,                                            At times they would fall, at times they would strain.                                        The trails there are many, roll up and then down,                                             The freedom was joyous, the laughter abound.

The coaches were there, with all kinds of wisdom,                                              To train them, fix them, and teach them of epsom.                                            What to eat, what to drink, and sleep we’d agree,                                               We gather, and lecture, remind of rule three.

Now it wasn’t all fun, our days in the sun,                                                            Some ran even faster, though others were done.                                                 The races were few, and gave each, time to shine,                                              Their goal was quite simple, a Duckie of mine.

The Finals upon us, the end was now here,                                                           Don’t worry, you’re ready, there’s nothing to fear.                                                 The friends here are many, and memories had,                                                Some stories don’t tell, or make Val really mad.

The time has now come, for the old coach to part,                                              For the last fifteen years, has brought to my heart,                                               A wave of fond moments, too many to mention,                                               I hope you had fun, for that was the intention.

Your story ends not here, this is just the start,                                       Wherever life takes you, and while we’re apart,                                              Think back to this team and the time that we had,                                                 Be happy, be joyous, be merry, be glad.

One thought on “’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE PRACTICE, by Val Sell”

  1. Thank you Val for everything that you have done for my son Joshua / Peety .. Three years ago the most he ever ran was over to his buddies house to play xbox. Now its all about staying healthy and beating his PR time.. Roy Franceschi


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