Monday, November 16, 2009

Santa has a head and face

I've really enjoyed stitching this Santa so far.  I'm so glad that I saw another stitcher working on one of these on large count fabric at the 2008 camp.  Camp = Inspiration!

And here are some more Cross Country photos.  The season is over now for my kids, so I promise to stop torturing you with these pictures.  But not many people go to Cross Country meets, so relatively few people know what a meet is like, and maybe you're curious?  (I know that some of you have kids that run or used to run.  Barb, Pam and Von....and are there any others?)  There are a few reasons why not many people get to see meets.

First of all, when kids run XC in high school, most meets happen on weekdays and usually between 3 and 4PM, so it's hard for working parents to get to meets.  (It's a daylight issue.  You can't run through field and forest in the dark!)  There is the occasional Saturday meet, but not too often.  Parents work really hard and juggle their schedules to attend just a few meets each year.   And if they run late and arrive 20 minutes after the start....well, they've missed the whole thing.

College meets are usually run on Saturdays, and if your runner goes on to run at the college level, you still may not make it to all the meets because they can be hours and hours away. We usually get to see our kids run at about half of their meets.

Meets are not very family-friendly, either.  It's not like a football game or soccer game or track meet, where spectators sit in stands and watch events, and you can bring younger siblings and grandparents and they can sit comfortably and watch the kids.  At our high school's home course, which was on the grounds of a PSU campus, we learned where we could set up folding chairs for grandparents so that they could see the kids run by a couple of times and see the finish line.  But our home course was very viewer-friendly and that's quite unusual.

So anyway, most people don't know what a meet is like.  They think it's like a track meet and that's understandable, but not even close.

OK, so your kids line up on the starting line.  We've seen meets with as few as 20 kids on the line, and meets with over 400.  The runners in the middle of the line are lucky...they just need to run in a straight line.  But the runners on the ends are working hard at the beginning of the race to kind of funnel into the middle.  And that first big pack can be a mess of arms, legs, elbows and spikes.  (There's Colleen - #305 on second from the left)

Once the gun goes off and the runners pass you, it's like this photo below:  These aren't kids racing.  Those are spectators trying to get to the next place in the course where they can see the runners.  We all have course maps that we try to follow so that we can get to the next place out in the field or near a path to see our runners.  And you usually need to be pretty quick about it.  The kids in these pictures are probably the runners'  teammates and brothers and sisters hoofing it to the next place on the course.

And then come the parents. We're not quite as quick...and we're usually clutching our maps and trying to follow people who look like they know where to go.

And you do that several times until you decide that it's time to skeedaddle to the finish so you can see your runner come in.  This is what you look for at the end. You hope that your runner has enough left to kick strong into the finish, and you look at his or her face and you know that they're pushing themselves to the limit. Look at these girls' faces. Concentration and push.

Then we wait awhile and try to give the kids some space as they recover.  Sometimes it's not too bad, and sometimes it's not very pretty.  (But these girls look ok.)  And once they've recovered a bit, there are usually hugs all around.  And food.  Always food!

****Thanks very much to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology who hosted the meet and shared these photographs with the many parents who couldn't attend.


  1. Great Santa. Working over a large count fabric can be a fun break sometimes.

    Thanks for the photos. DH ran a couple of marathons. Booorrriiinnnggg for the spectators. Fortunately, the first one came right by our house about 1/2 an hour or so into the course. Then I went down to the end to meet him, based on his projected finishing time. He's a slow but steady guy, so I usually have time for a nap in the middle. :-)

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  3. I didn't run XC, but my dad was a coach when I was a kid. I went to lots of meets!! (And mostly played in the dirt and drank all the team's Gatorade. hehe)

  4. Very interesting info about cross country. It's too bad that the meets don't offer many options for parents to attend.

  5. Nice write up about x-country Lee! Lee was in the paper again (do you want the articles?). And Santa is looking darn good.

  6. That is hilarious! The parents and spectators get a workout too; it looks like some kind of free for all! My kids are drama/music kids, not so much with the sports, so this is all news to me, but very interesting!

  7. My brother was in XC and let me tell you my Mom and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off :)
    ROSE HULMAN! just up the road from me :)

  8. Great looking Santa start, Lee! Andrew and Steven ran cross country back in middle school, but ended up going the marching band route for their high school years. I remember the meets as being very cold and very muddy (the few I managed to make it to anyway!!)...

    Congratulations to both John and Colleen for, what sounds like, very successful seasons :)

  9. OOPS...meant that "Colleen" was in the paper again. I think it was too late to be on the computer!

  10. Love your Santa, Lee! He's really cute. Great running pics, too!

  11. Santa is adorable! Love the running pictures - gives a real insight.

  12. Love this Santa on large ct. fabric!!
    Great idea!
    Awesome pics!

  13. The Santa is looking awesome!! I enjoyed reading about the meets as I have never been and just assumed it was like a track meet. Glad to know there is a big difference now and I can understand more when people talk about attending one! Thanks!

  14. Wow - your santa looks great at this size - can't wait to see how you finish it.

    Loved the photos of the meet, especially the one of all the crowd running, almost like rent a crowd!

  15. That was an interesting description of a XC meet. Thanks for sharing! None of my sons have ever done XC. What distrance do they run? What's a good time for the runenrs?

  16. Thanks for the information on cross country running. Had to LOL at the spectators getting a run also, too funny. It must be frustrating though, not knowing where the people that you are watching for are in the race.