Even before the weather starts to truly warm up in the springtime, you’ll often see scores of adolescent runners out, jogging through neighborhoods and byways in spandex, track jackets, and certainly not warm enough headbands. If you are the parent, relative, or coach of one of these doggedly determined individuals, you already know that you are witnessing the birthing pains of the springtime track and field team.
Countless young men and women across the country are working and training hard — really hard, incredibly hard — while continuing to study and work their way through high school, and sometimes even holding down jobs part time in the workplace, as well. Too often it is too difficult to get them the recognition that you know they deserve. Here are a few things you can do to celebrate your spring track team.
Raise awareness throughout the community with yard signs.
Yard signs are fairly commonplace, but they are often for (aside from the political) biggies like football, basketball, baseball, and sometimes soccer. On the whole, you see them for what are typically thought of as “team” sports, while people who aren’t in the know tend to view track and field as a sport composed of individual events. Yard signs can be personalized with individual player names as well as to announce weekly events. Use both at school and throughout the neighborhood. This way, the community at-large can see that track players live and work among them, and perhaps be encouraged to go support their local high school or neighbor at an event. Yard signs with players names can also be used to line a pathway or the school quad for a track and field spirit week to celebrate the individual team members at school.
Have a spirit week at school… just for track and field!
Yes, baseball and softball are coming, and soccer is looming on the horizon as well. However, spirit weeks don’t have to be massively costly to be successful at their original purpose: giving credit where credit is due and raising enthusiasm and pride across the campus. Banners promoting the track and field team can be draped across the entrance (or exits!) of the school, where everyone can be sure to take note. As a track and field promotion during spirit week, if you are selling school or athletic-related apparel like hoodies and t-shirts, let everyone know that if they purchase anything during that week, they will get a track and field personalized drawstring bag, as well!
Make sure everyone at school knows who the motivated athletes on the track team are!
- Pick a certain day of the week for the track team to wear their team jackets to school, and have everyone do it. Fellow students may be surprised who is in their class on the team!
- Following a meet, announce the team members who placed first in any given even that next Monday in homeroom or over the intercom.
- Long-haired track athletes can get fun and funky with Bling Strings in their hair. Check regulations, but these can be tied up in ponytails or buns tightly and will also help your school stand out at meets!
- Make notebooks available for all the track athletes to use, and offer personalized track spirit notebooks for sale as part of your track and field fundraising. The more visibility, the more awareness, and the more excitement!
Give those motivated fans something to cheer with!
While noisemakers can be a touch inappropriate for track and field events that require concentration, unless there are regulations prohibiting their use, sprinters could use all the encouragement! For other events, such as shot put, long jump, or discus, create special signs with prominent, easy to read lettering. Right before the athlete makes their winning put, hurl, or jump, they can look up into the crowd and gather extra momentum from all the support they see in the stands.
Finally, don’t forget to bring along some extra megaphones so that your encouraging cheers don’t get swept away in the wind.