Return With Honor - Highlights from the Catlin Gabel Track Meet

I know a family who placed a motto over their door that read "Return With Honor." Time and time again I have thought about the way that doorway was passed through and about the way the people in that family could choose to regard or disregard a family creed.  On the last Friday of April, Arbor proved that our school may not have motto to invoke, nor a mascot to follow, yet our students can leave the campus and return with the best version of honor, the kind that shows regard with great respect.  

Linus, Senior teacher and Convener, traditionally shares the details of the Catlin Gabel Middle School Track Meet via time-of-day check-ins and noticings, which you can read below. Yes, there were the events mentioned and the progress of the runners, jumpers and throwers, but the main observations were around the way in which the students interacted with one another and with students from the other schools -- high fives, handshakes, cheering for all levels from first to last finishers. “We believe in you,” “Way to Go!” “That was insane!” “She got third!” ‘Thanks, Coach,” were exclamations captured by Linus, along with a plethora of nonverbal jumps for joy and personal bests “left on the track.”


Generosity was as abundant as the threat of rain on that spring day in Portland.  The good fortune of placing 2nd overall and 1st in the girls division, was secondary to the win of returning with honor to a school whose character development is, as our Director Kit Hawkins says, “The hinge on which intellect and creativity rise and fall.” 

Well done and thank you, Seniors

Kids are arriving in little clusters, buying or renting shirts from Leigh, milling about, getting the lay of the land, stretching, warming up. The sky is overcast. How can it be that the day of the Track Meet (and the Junior Bridge field trip!) is the first day that is not perfectly, gloriously sunny in a week?

Jesse: It’s so much easier to do the hurdles when they're in a straight line and there’s an even number of strides between them!

Coach Andrew has a cluster of kids around him. He’s showing them how the hand off zones for the relay races are marked. At Arbor they have been using lines in the bark chips.

It is no longer just overcast; it is definitely “misting.”

Two unnamed mothers discuss the fact that their kids have explicitly barred them from watching their events. They will watch anyhow!

Check-in for the girls’ javelin. Lots of people are milling around the tent. A girl from another school asks, plaintively, to no one in particular, “Why am I first? My name doesn’t start with ‘A’.” 

At what point does “mist” become “rain”?

Girls’ high jump has started. Sadie’s name is called. The throwing and jumping events will go on for hours.

A starter’s pistol goes off, but it must be a test because no one starts running. “Last call, girls’ hurdles,” says the PA.

Coach Leigh: In Spain they call this ‘fools’ rain, because it doesn’t seem like it’s raining, and then an hour later you’re soaked.

The first heat of the girls’ hurdles is off. Lily W can run very fast!

Cole, Charlie, and Jesse are waiting for their hurdles race, warming up. They are joking around with a runner from the Hawks. I can’t hear what they are saying, but they’re all laughing together.

Actually, as it turns out, it’s pretty clear when it’s “raining” as opposed to “misting.”

Maddie has just thrown her personal best javelin ever.

Girls 4 by 100. Sadie hands off to Ava G, waits in her lane, watching Ava take off. Then she high fives the runner in the next lane, who’s also just made her hand-off.

It’s no longer raining.

Sonia comes in second to the runner from OES; Sonia turns to her and shakes her hand.

Boys’ 1500. Amazingly, Emil still has gas in the tank to put on a burst at the end of the last lap.

A runner from Hyla — I have overheard that his name is Isaiah — is way at the back of the 1500. Sonia, Sophie B, Harper, and Audrey are in the infield. They cheer loudly for Isaiah as he finally reaches the finish line.

Esther: After the first lap [of the 1500], my legs were kind of buzzing, and then I couldn’t feel them. I’m just glad I didn’t collapse halfway through!

The 100 meter dash has started. There is heat after heat, so it is really impossible to tell who is winning. Ollie yells, “We believe in you, Lily W!” She absolutely burns it.

Ollie is readying himself for the 3000. 
Coach Azure: You know exactly what you need to say to yourself to get psyched up, Ollie.
Griffin runs by in the 800, puts on speed, passing another runner as he closes.

Nicholas is running the 800. Amazingly, he is smiling!

Melissa is trying to watch both of her kids triple jump at the same time, but they are jumping in opposite directions. We see Ava Hudson absolutely fly toward us.

Sonia starts the 200 near Melissa and me. As she rounds the far corner, ahead of the pack, Melissa points out what Sonia’s last name means in German. It had never occurred to me before.

Max and Emil are in the infield as Torben runs past them. They are leaping in the air, waving their arms, practically doing jumping jacks as they cheer for him.

The 3000 is starting. Go, Ollie! Go, Megan!

I’m chatting with Sophie Kruse (Arbor ‘17). The 3000 is still going on. We pause to cheer as the runners pass us.

It’s still going on.

There is one last runner in the 3000, from Hyla, way behind everyone else. The entire crowd cheers for him as he finishes his last lap.

Maya E: Will! She got third! Megan got third!

Sixth-grade boys’ 4 by 400. Kiko watches the end of the race. “Way to go, Owen!” He yells. “That was insane!”