Opinion by Austin Cannon
It’s a week full of fun events, “limited” academic focus and, of course, the Peggy’s tent.
It’s a chance to cut loose, which all of us need and delight in.
But once Friday rolls around, I will see a T-shirt, a button or hear the actual words, “Wait. There are races?”
Yes. And you should watch them.
I’m not saying you should plan your whole weekend around them and skip all the other fun to be had, but you could easily take a couple hours and watch some world-class athletes run, jump, throw and vault.
I would suggest going on Friday night. That’s when you’re going to see a lot of the “Moscow World Championship Rematches.” These are athletes who competed in the summer against the best in the world, so they’re pretty good. And it’s over by 9 p.m., so you still have time for all the fun outside the stadium.
(Pro tip: Ignore the student-designated seating. It’s away from all the good stuff. Find an open spot around the first turn if you can. That way you have a good view of the high jump, pole vault and the starts and finishes.)
The meet attracts MVC, SEC, Big 12 and Big 10 schools, while the Iowa high school athletes have to meet incredibly high qualification standards to even enter.
(Example: The boys’ 2013 400m hurdle qualifying time is about what I ran in high school in the standard 400m, without hurdles. Woof.)
These are some high-ability athletes, so the competition will be close and fierce.
Who knows? Someone could break a record and make some history. That’s cool, right?
Track meets are also one of the most underrated sporting events to attend.
Since there are so many events packed into three days, there’s always something to watch. The sprinting events alone will have you on the edge of your seat, squinting to see who finishes first.
At the very least, you can hang out with your friends and work on your tan for summer. It’s also completely free for Drake students, so there’s no real excuse to not attend.
The events early in the week are perhaps even more exciting. There’s the Pole Vault in the Mall at Jordan Creek and, new this year, High Jump at Hy-Vee in Waukee.
In my opinion, these are two of the more exciting events in the sport, and they’re being played out in an unexpected setting.
Personally, I think holding the high jump in the middle of a grocery store is genius. I hope they have the athletes jump over various store displays, just to appease my imagination.
Again, I’m not telling you to be at Drake Stadium from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. That would require an incredible amount of dedication and sunscreen. But you should make an effort to catch a few races. You might actually enjoy it.