Need for a time schedule at track meets!
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Track and field is losing numbers to soccer and other sports. Kids no longer walk to school or ride the bus, they rely on parents and siblings to pick them up from school, practice or games. Kids are involved in multiple activities at the same time and parents are stretched thin running back and forth between practice and events.
When parents attend a soccer match, football game, basketball game, there is a clock running and they know within reason, how long each quarter, half, etc. will last. They can plan relatively well. Track meets running on a rolling schedule provide the parents with little information about when their child/grandchild will compete. Athletes don’t know when to start their warm up because they have no idea how many heats, how long most events take. Many athletes are improperly prepared or delayed getting to their event because they didn’t hear the announcer. Field event venues are scattered all over the school campus these days. If a parent/grandparent have multiple athletes competing in running and field, it is difficult for them to leave the track and watch a field event and know what time to get back to the stadium to watch the running events.
I have been involved in track and field since elementary school and I love the sport. I have no problem being in a track stadium from 6 am until midnight working an event and watching competition of all levels. I coach with a youth summer club, but I will not attend the USATF Youth meets because there is no form of timeline for the events. You don’t know if your athlete will compete in their next event in 1 hour or 3 hours. You are left up to having the child and parents listen for the announcer or chase every kid down for every event.
I attended a track meet with my mother to watch her grandson compete this spring and it was too cold for her to sit in the stands and wait for his races. She wanted to go sit in the car and keep warm until his race, so we had to call her on her cell phone and let her know when to come back into the stadium and watch him compete.
These kind of situations do not keep parents and even athletes enthused about the sport of track and field so the parents are many times happy when they choose a different sport that may require less time and is easier to plan around.