Saturday, August 20, 2016

I forgot about the tape ...

I forgot about the tape. I forgot, until I saw a sprinter holding a shoulder's-width white strip of it in front of her on national TV, that running a relay requires it.
The tape marks the spot where, once your relay teammate hits it, you start running as fast as your shoes, the wind, gravity, cheers, your legs and arms will take you. Just before her whirling body threaten to tangle with your whirling body, she yells "hand!" and you reach backward, blindly, defying the biological laws of shoulders.
It's about so much practice, rehearsing this exact millisecond, over and over and over. You know how many steps, heel-to-toe, it takes her waning speed to match your waxing speed. Baton in her left hand, passing off to your right, matching up like puzzle pieces or cogs.
And you're off, so much speed in one small lane, until you hit someone else's tape. You yell "hand." You pass the baton. Just like you practiced.
I can't believe I forgot about that.