Those words, when uttered to a runner, can not be taken lightly. They are more than a challenge. They are a direct attack on your athletic ability, no matter how innocent the questioner may be. The insinuation is that “I can beat you.”
Four years ago, my daughter asked that question while we were attending a Seahawk game. We were standing in the exhibition hall next to the stadium, watching people run a 40-yard dash. The Seahawk organization had set-up a dual lane track that emulated the look of a football field with 5-yard line markers.
At the end of the track was a large timer that displayed in seconds, to the hundredths, your running time. The 40-yard dash time has always played a crucial part in the recruiting of new football players. Speed is essential in the game.
Without hesitation, I naturally said, “Sure, ” to my daughter’s question.
I knew she would be running just for fun. But for me, a competitive guy, it was much more important than a fun run. In my mind, it was a generational battle between the young and the old.
It was also a battle of the sexes that rivaled that of Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King’s tennis match of the ‘70s. I had to take her down. I did it once before. I beat her by 10 minutes in a 5k ten years earlier. The fact that she was only ten, and I was 57 was immaterial. We both won our age group in that race. So this 40-yard dash was going to be a race of champions.
The Competitors and Statistics:
DAD – Age 67 – Occupation – Part time Wizard & Pull Tabologist
Training – 40 Miles per week
Experience – 100’s of races
ANDREA- Age 20 – Occupation – UW Honor Student
Training – 40 hrs per week Sony wii golf
Experience – 1 race 10 years ago
Dad: “No need for instant replay. It will be over in an instant. Takes me 2 miles to decelerate in a marathon.”
Andrea: “Be careful Daddy.”
If you count the number of individual races as waves, my daughter and I started in the 16th wave. With most runs finishing under 10 seconds, it didn’t take long for us to reach the start line. We did have to sign waivers not to sue if we got injured. I didn’t mind signing. How hurt can you get in 10 seconds of running?
As we lined up side by side at the start line, I mapped out my run. I didn’t have to consider pace. In a 10 second race, you run like hell all the way.
I hadn’t watched my daughter run in a decade, but she had the look of a sprinter, and I expected her to get a jump on me out the gate. But I have pretty muscular calves and figure to dig in on my third step and power forward and catch her around the 30-yard line.
We had a good crowd watching us as the start gun went off. Everyone wanted to watch the old man and the kid. My daughter jumped forward as I anticipated.
As I dug in on my third step, I heard “ooh.” Not “oooh” like that’s great, but “oooohhhh” that’s gotta hurt!
Race Results – Andrea 1st place
Post Race Interview – Andrea: “Where’s daddy?” Dad: “I did get the first down.”