by Ali Christ
In the history of RFH winter track, about 95% percent of Monmouth County is always condensed inside a bubble in Toms River. Out of all the athletes on the teams, about 5% of them have family members or other fans come to watch them compete. Similarly, many of our student athletes have been acknowledged in the newspaper and have run in some of the most elite meets in the county. Others go on from winter track to compete in spring track, where they break personal records and achieve new feats with every competition. However, despite the successes of the track program, it is a sport that remains uncelebrated by the student body.
This poses a worthy question: why is there a lack of interest in track? Why do sports like football and basketball receive most of the attention? I mean, sure, Toms River has its cons. It takes an hour to get there and you have to sit inside a poorly filtered dome where you can only imagine that stale air infecting everyone. But football games often pose the same health threat; they are usually out in freezing cold weather where you have to wear several layers just to keep warm.
And what about basketball games? You have to show up about an hour early just to get a good seat. If you arrive at the scheduled time, chances are the bleachers are going to be packed with very loud fans who won’t want to move out of the way for you. Yes, I know that these sports are very popular, which is understandable, but really, why is track always forgotten?
There are track meets every Friday or Saturday open to anyone (as long as you have $5 as a fee to enter and proper spikes). Sure, it’s the weekend, but really; what else do you have to do? This schedule should allow many people to come down and support us! You get to stay inside of a nice, warm atmosphere with tons of activities to watch. If you get bored of people running in circles, there are other exciting events to watch such as high jump, shot put, hurdles, and pole vault!
Track is rarely mentioned in newspapers, compared to the big pictures we see of football or basketball players on the line or a midst of his jump shot. No one in our student body spreads the word or advertises dates and times, or even acknowledges people who have been successful in track. No one even realizes how many of the runners are very talented and compete in sectionals and finals, or how many times our track team has won the entire division.
Rarely have I personally heard someone say, “Oh yeah, did you catch the track meet Friday night? So-and-so broke their PR (personal record) in the 800 and is really close to breaking the school record!” And that’s because…you guessed it…there’s rarely an occupied seat in the stands of the lonely Toms River bubble. So think about it; you can even show up late for the track meet and you’ll still be guaranteed a nice view and tons of other people to watch run in circles!
Perhaps everyone is just in for their own personal well-being rather than the runners and throwers who have to compete in the cold everyday. But we are a force to reckon with; when it snows, we have to shovel off the entire track before practice! Maybe it’s because we are crazy enough to “want” to put ourselves through such hardships. Perhaps we runners are just unrelatable and simply forgotten. Forgotten as we seem to appear, we still go through all the pain in hopes of a little glory….one day.