Despite my best efforts, it’s been a crazy week here at our house. Before starting our family, now over nine years ago, my husband and I decided that we would try very hard not to be that family. You know the one.
Well, actually you might not know them very well. They are the neighbors that are never home. Instead they’re on the run because Sally has dance class at the same time that Billy has soccer practice, and Lulu has to get to her Girl Scout meeting, which starts at the same time as Freddie’s trumpet lesson. By the time they do get home, they only have time to hope that everyone ate dinner at some point, crank out a little homework, brush their teeth, and get to bed, which they had better do quickly because they have a busy day tomorrow.
And most of the time we are not that family. Or at least a lot of the time we’re not. But, of course, sometimes we are. We’re lucky, though, because in our family there are two parents and two children, which means that when the week gets a little hectic, we can still coordinate and run the race pretty well.
That is until we get to a week when the baseball season is in full swing for our nine-year-old who is also preparing for a piano recital and just volunteered for a speaking role in the upcoming third grade musical. And tee-ball season has begun for our six-year-old who is also taking first Communion class and his pre-summer “Mom is concerned you might otherwise drown” refresher swim classes.
And Dad has work meetings almost every night of the week.
Oh, and we should probably all eat dinner at some point. Also the boys have homework that they don’t want to do because it’s nice weather and they’d rather play outside, and, frankly, I’d rather let them. But I can’t. Because I certainly don’t want to be that mom.
On those weeks, when I’m running mostly alone, with two kids who are off in different directions, I begin to think that maybe I deserve a medal. Except that I really don’t, because I never feel like I can quite make it across the finish line in time even though I am reasonably certain we’ve all eaten dinner at some point each evening this week.
I have to wonder if that’s how US track star Lawson Robertson was feeling when he competed in the thirteenth annual championship tournament of the Military Athletic League held at Madison Square Garden in April of 1909. Robertson was coming off of a disappointing performance in the 100-meter sprint at the 1908 Olympics. Clocking 11.2 seconds in his semifinal heat, the same time as a fellow countryman who went on to compete in the final event, Robertson failed to advance by less than a foot.
Though he had earned a bronze medal in standing high jump in 1904 and was a noted sprinter who would go on to coach for the US track & field teams in future Olympics, the Olympic sprinting medals eluded him. Still there is one record for which he will always be known, a world record that has continued to stand for 105 years.
On April 24, 1909, Robertson teamed up with fellow American track & field star Harry Hillman (best known as a hurdler who claimed three Olympic gold medals in hurdling in 1904 and a silver in 1908) for the 100-yard (91-meter) three-legged race. The men clocked in at a never-since-equaled 11 seconds.
Admittedly I’m not sure there have been many challenges to the record (assuming that the average Sunday school picnic doesn’t count as official), but still, I like the idea that these two men, neither of whom achieved much success as individual record-breaking sprinters, combined forces and established possibly permanent dominance as partners in the world of competitive three-legged racing.
I suspect that Hillman and Robertson’s race was somewhat more graceful than the average three-legged event. Probably even more graceful than the stumbling through a busy crazy week that my husband and I occasionally do when we can no longer avoid being that family for a little while.
Still, I’m grateful that next week, when the third-grade musical is on the same night as the baseball game, scheduled just far enough apart that with a quick change in the car, we should be able to make both, I’ll have my racing partner back. I’m betting I’m going to need him, but I haven’t yet been brave enough to check next week’s tee ball practice schedule.