Last night, our training group met at the sports park for a speed workout on the grass of the practice fields.

This section of the park has three football/soccer fields. When we got there, a lacrosse team was practicing on half of one field; the other two were empty. Our coach devised a route around the perimeter of the fields, except the one with the lacrosse team. Since they were running drills on one end–and we didn’t want to get hit with lacrosse balls–he instructed us to run across the field at the other end, cutting across behind them, near where their other goal would be if they were using the whole field. From there, we’d run the perimeter of the other two fields, which were now filling up with soccer players. It ended up being kind of an L-shaped route to avoid the players on the fields.

The Fartlek workout was six to eight reps of :30 hard, 2:30 easy. Some people ran barefoot in the grass, but a couple of us didn’t. These fields are well-maintained, but I didn’t want to chance running into the Texas State Weed: the prickly grass sticker.

I programmed the intervals into my Garmin and took off. The first two laps were pretty uneventful. Thirty seconds of hard running isn’t easy, but I can do just about anything for thirty seconds.

The third lap, we approached the lacrosse players again. Mind you, my kid plays lacrosse and I have a healthy respect for the speed at which a lacrosse ball can fly. So I wanted no part of their practice and made a wide arc around their game. However, as three of us (all women) passed, one of the coaches yelled at us. He declared that they had reserved the whole field until 8:00 and we should Keep Off. He wasn’t polite about it, but whatever–it’s not the first time someone has been rude to me while I’m running.

But then he said, “Maybe you should quit cheating yourselves and run the WHOLE field!”

That time I recognized his voice.

He’s someone I know casually, and will probably run into again. Clearly he didn’t recognize me–I wonder if he would have approached us differently if he had?

Here’s the other thing: the three men (including our coach) ran by with nary a sideways glance, but he ordered the women not only to get off his reserved field, but to “stop cheating” ourselves.

Okay, so he’d reserved the field. But it’s a county park. We weren’t doing anything wrong, and we made a concerted effort to stay out of their way. It’s one thing to ask us to take a different route around their practice. But it’s another thing altogether to make disparaging remarks about us. Or some of us.

We adjusted our route on the next lap, and I didn’t get close enough to say something to him, but in hindsight I wish I had called him on it. I think if I had run near him again, I would have. But the opportunity was gone.

Considering I was angry, though, it’s probably best that I didn’t. And now that I’ve had a chance to compose my thoughts beyond “Screw you, Douchebag!” I have a more articulate response.

So Lacrosse Coach, here’s what I should have said to you last night:

  1. You made erroneous assumptions about our workout, chiding us for cutting corners and being lazy when in fact our coach was out there running it too, and we were following his instructions–presumably what you expect from your players.
  2. What’s with cracking on the women? Women busting our asses doing a speed workout in 90-degree temps to improve at an athletic endeavor–presumably what you want from your players.
  3. Think about the example you set for the young men on your team when you criticized us. You should be teaching them respect for hard work, not just for men’s lacrosse. I assure you that the work ethic of every Rogue out there last night compares (or surpasses) that of your own players. We are distance runners with a six-days-a-week training schedule. We have full-time jobs and families, and we show up for training time and time again, in the heat and the cold and the rain. You think we were cheating ourselves? Come run with us next time.

I guess I did run into a prickly sticker after all.


5 thoughts on “Prickly

  1. Sounds like a complete ass. At the track where I run there are often high school track practice and football games. I usually go over and say hello to whomever and ask which part of the track I can use. They are generally very nice because it is a public/community spot. Too bad this guy was a jerk & I hope you don’t have to see it again anytime soon.


  2. He kind of put the “prick” back into “prickly”, didn’t he? I ALWAYS come up awesome retorts well AFTER whatever prompted them, too. But then I store them away, for the next time….


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