Hot Corner: Bay Port Track Club
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – I was never a track and field athlete in my younger days.
Instead, I played baseball, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to run – at least a little bit.
I’m not a marathon runner, but I did do a half marathon one time.
It wasn’t a good experience, so nowadays, I stick to the 5-kilometer length.
Pure running is one of the most basic exercises a person can do.
All you need is a decent pair of shoes, a little work ethic and you can head out the door.
I had a nephew join cross country at Notre Dame Academy beginning in 2014.
He will admit that he wasn’t the best runner, but he did his best.
He would often come home near the end of the pack in the JV race, but he stuck with it all four years – he didn’t quit.
He looked pretty rough toward the end of a race from the physical exertion, but the camaraderie and fun he had over the years kept him coming back each season.
Running is one of the only sports I can think of where you don’t need much skill.
Field events and hurdles are a much different story, as you need good skill and practice to master those.
I can’t imagine jumping over a hurdle or trying to propel myself over a bar 10 feet in the air on a skinny pole.
I pretty much love all sports equally, but to be competitive skill-wise in most of them, you have to start at a younger age and put quite a bit of time into your effort.
If you compare running to playing baseball or softball, it’s very different.
The percentage of athletes that pick up a ball sport as a freshman in high school probably aren’t seeing too much playing time unless they have special talents.
In the Howard-Suamico School District (HSSD), the Bay Port track and field teams are making sure the future is bright for the team.
Hundreds of area youngsters converged on Bay Port April 24 as part of the Bay Port Track Club (BPTC).
The BPTC, which has a fee of $25, is held on four Wednesday nights starting in late April and going through mid-May.
Participants need to be in grades three through six to take part.
The fee gets your child a BPTC t-shirt, a good time and a chance to learn technique from those that know best – the Bay Port High School coaches and the high school track and field athletes.
The first two Wednesdays are practice, while the last two weeks are meets where the kids can pick a few events and compete against others.
The BPTC started in the late ‘80s with about 30 kids.
It takes a lot of effort to plan, as indicated by the roughly 200 participants and 50 high school athletes helping out.
The youngsters take part in various field and running events, while also working on stretching and agility.
John Demerit started a Junior Olympics program for Bay View Middle School and St. John’s seventh and eighth graders around 1974.
When the middle school track program started at Bay View, Demerit began a Saturday morning track club.
When I talked to Bay Port’s head girls’ coach Vic Murphy, he speculated (un-scientifically) that approximately 75 percent of the track kids in the high school went through the BPTC.
The high school athletes teach their specific event to the participants, and you’ll see plenty of fun and lots of high-fives.
In this day and age where high school students are sometimes given a bad rap for not being more active with the community and working with the youth, I suggest you check out the BPTC.
It’ll change your way of thinking.