Dr. Bill Atwood

The best day at the lake this summer

Last week the seventh annual My-Tri race took place at Bass Lake which is sponsored by The Miller’s Bass Lake Resort on behalf of the Chawanakee Educational Foundation.

It brought together 108 young athletes to compete in a triathlon. The kids ranged in age from 5 years to 18 in three different categories based upon ability.

The Aces swam 200 yards, biked 8 miles and ran 2 miles. The Sprints swam 100 yards, biked 4 miles and ran 1 mile. The youngest group, The Dash, swam 50 yards, biked 2 miles, and ran one half of a mile.

The speeds were impressive in each grouping considering the size of each participant. It was fun to see the excitement as each child registered, had their number written in black marker on their arm and then receiving the “timing chip” which would enable the judges to determine the exact amount of time each person used to complete the three legs of the race.

With music playing, parents and other family members offering encouragement the intrepid triathletes went to the starting line, into the water at 7:30 a.m. and began, in different waves, their race against the clock.

The race was fun but the real show was in the actions and reactions of the kids and the crowd; it was pure Norman Rockwell. Kids encouraging each other to do well. Spectators cheering for everyone. No smoking, no trash talk, no litter, just wholesome small-town kindness.

When younger kids were having a difficult time during the swim volunteers on the Miller’s dock offering encouragement and sometimes an assist with a flotation device to hold onto as they fought their way toward shore.

I saw a student volunteer from the YHS water polo team swimming ahead of one youngster helping to encourage the little guy and to ensure he kept swimming in a straight line.That Badger slipped away as the racer approached the shore. I don’t know that Badger heroe’s name.

We saw people helping the participants into and out of the bike transition area. A few kids fell as the bike portion began and there were volunteers quick to help them mount their bike and head off on that leg of the race.

Finally, they got to the running portion of the race and having endured a chilly swim, a bike ride over hill and dale they all took off running with smiles on their faces and determination in their eyes. These kids each displayed an attitude that we need to see more often in society.

Some young men from the YHS Cross Country team positioned themselves along the racecourse and when they saw a kid who appeared to be struggling those boys just ran alongside that little one offering encouragement either through words or just helping with the pace. As the YHS guys approached the finish line they just slowed down and returned to the racecourse to help another lagging runner. Those runners who were “assisted” by the YHS guys could end the race strong and receive the cheers and accolades from the adoring fans.

All the participants that started the race completed the race. They have proven that they could meet the challenge head-on and win. They also saw what we all saw- the best of what America has to offer; neighbor helping neighbor because it is just what you do. The adult volunteers and the staff at Millers were awesome. The YHS athletes showed the epitome of grace and Badger Spirit. I can’t wait until next year’s race. It was the best day at the lake this summer.