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Love Me Some XC by Dean Headley

Published by
DyeStatFL   Aug 15th 2014, 11:47pm

Love me some XC - Things I love

  • Seeing kids blossom. 
  • The adrenaline.
  • The unknown.
  • Old friends and New.
  • The analytics.
  • The season.


Seeing kids blossom – I always bump into kids I’ve seen elsewhere.  Maybe I haven’t seen them since they were in elementary school or maybe I see them every week in their Publix or Chipotle uniform and had no idea they had taken up XC.  It’s a great coming-out party. 


Dean Headley - Olympia High School Parent/Distance Fan








The adrenaline – It’s such a rush!  Sometimes too much.  I remember two of our girls at their first meet last year.  They were JV and had never run cross country.  The gun fired and they ran an all-out 100 meters.  All OUT!  When they passed me again at the one mile point, they didn’t look so good.  I immediately tagged it for the banquet video.  Pure gold.

 And I don’t just mean the runner’s adrenaline.  When I get home and watch the video I have taken, I see evidence of how I was feeling during the race.  I have to use the Stabilize feature because I’m always so pumped my hands are shaking.


The unknown – It’s why I like sports in general.  There is almost always a performance that you didn’t predict or an aspect of the races that you hadn’t seen coming. 


Old friends and New – Cross Country is really a community.  For you newbies, you are getting involved with a good thing.  Lots of good people out there, many that I see only on race day, but we keep in touch. 


The analytics – I confess, I really enjoy the data. The What If’s. The trends week to week and year to year.


The season – It’s so rewarding in Florida, after a hot summer, to finally have cool mornings.  With XC, it’s like we are the first in the state to witness the change.  We aren’t but it feels like it.



Tips, Requests, Rules – I’ll be attending our team’s annual Parents Meeting this week and will share one or more of these with the attendees.


Rule – Do not stand behind the starting line.  There are several reasons but the reason I hope you remember is that you can get your kid or even your team disqualified.  The meet director has that right. 

Other reasons:

It doesn’t help your team or kid.  In fact, it can and often does hurt.  Don’t be the parent giving their son or daughter last minute tips.  That is what the coaches are there to do.  Your coach will have a plan in place.  Your encouragement is well-intended but may not fit with the strategy in place for that race … or for any race.

You are not a kid any more.  I know the feeling.  I want to toe the line as well but this is their time. 

There are much better viewing locations.  Get to the course early enough to ask a veteran parent where the best viewing areas are.  After the race the kids will tell you how they like seeing you on the course. 


Tip – Stay off of the course.  Sounds obvious I know.  I’ve been to over a hundred XC races so take it from me, when your favorite runners come through, you’ll want to consider getting in a new location to see them again.  But there are still athletes on the course.  You do NOT want to be the parent who “took out” a runner.  (A lot of courses have lakes nearby so if you do make this mistake, you could be in luck.  You can jump in the lake and sink to the bottom.) 


Request – Bring your camera or figure out that smart phone camera if you haven’t already.  You’ll get better with the timing each week.  If you are reading this, you probably have a teenager.  They can show you how your camera works if you need any help. 

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6 comment(s)
There's been a Dean sighting !!
Thank you!
Great stuff..runners to your mark
Very nicely put and to the point, I was a parent of XC, I am a coach of XC and soon to be a grandparent of XC; it is pure and next to T+F the best
Let's get ready to rumble !
Keep up the good work DistancePreps!
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