Hopefully, most people out there have been through a track-and-field day as an elementary school student.
I know I did several times as a student many years ago at Hambright Elementary School (Penn Manor School District) over in Lancaster. And the event gave me some of my fondest memories of being a kid.
Over the weekend, I went searching for pieces of evidence from those memories. I looked in the cardboard boxes stored away in a spare bedroom of my house. I searched through the organized clutter in my garage. Sadly, the items I searched for didn't turn up. To the best of my memory, there should have been a few ribbons -- a couple recognizing my athletic achievements and maybe one or two acknowledging my participation at the event.
What prompted me to go searching for the items? Well, just a couple weeks ago a gentleman named Brian Wisler asked me to help out at the track-and-field day for the fourth, fifth and sixth graders of Central York School District. Wisler is a physical education teacher at Sinking Springs Elementary, one of the two elementary schools in the district that only teaches fourth through sixth graders. Wisler also works part-time at York Revolution home games. It's there he mentioned the track event to me. He told me he's been helping run it for many years, and how wonderful the whole day is for the kids. So, I took him up on the offer to help out.
I arrived at the track-and-field facility at Central York High School around 9 a.m. Friday. Even though I didn't compete in a single event, I was exhausted by the end of the whole experience five hours later. However, I was also blown away by how much fun myself and the kids seemed to have.
About 1,500 students from Sinking Springs and North Hills elementary schools took part in the event, named after a former principal of North Hills and Roundtown elementary schools -- Jeffrey L. Fox -- who died of cancer in 1996. Fox and Wisler put together the first annual track meet in 1991.
The kids were randomly separated into four teams, each of which were identified by a different colored shirt. There were 16 total track-and-field events for the students. And when they weren't competing, a DJ up in the press box kept the kids entertained by continually pumping tunes over the loudspeakers. Never before have I seen in-person that many people doing the "Macarena" simultaneously.
The top three finishers in each event went home with a ribbon. The students who were part of the winning color team just got the pride of being a winner.
The event brought out hundreds of spectators as well, and not just the supportive parents. Revs' starting pitcher Corey Thurman and his wife, Angela, stopped out on Friday. Angela once participated in the track event many years ago as a North Hills student.
She hasn't forgotten about the awesome experiences she had at the event. And I know I haven't forgotten about mine at Hambright, either.
Not all elementary school students who participate in track-and-field day events every year may go on to be phenomenal athletes in high school. Still, they'll always have the memory of enjoying the event when they were kids. And those memories are special.
So, kudos to the schools who still make sure an event such as the one at Central York still goes on every year.
-- Reach John Walk at 505-5406 or jwalk@york dispatch.com or follow on Twitter @YorkSportsGuy.