The events I’m about to share happened quite a long time ago. But like a good Bob Seger song, some things never quite fade from memory.
It was May of 1975. As a senior in high school I was gunning to make the state meet in the mile run and had reached the qualifying time five times leading up to the state meet trials. I lined up for the race feeling confident that I could make the top six places, but wound up flailing down the home stretch in seventh place and did not advance to the state meet after all. I’d reach the time, but not the place.
It was disappointing. All that running in high school and I never did make it to a single state track meet. The same was true in cross country, where our sectional meet featured teams such as York and the Glenbard schools along with a host of individual competitors able to crack 15:00 with ease for the three-mile distance. So I never advanced from sectionals in cross country either.
All the same, a few buddies and I decided to drive to Charleston, Illinois to cheer on the guys that we knew that were competing from our school and others as well.
Perhaps I’d have had better luck qualifying for state if our family had remained in that little town where I’d attended a Class A school through my sophomore year. The transfer to a Class AA school put me in a more competitive bracket and tougher qualifying times than the single A level. That said, my former teammates would win the state Class A track title that year. That made my own experience bittersweet. But I cheered hard for them just the same. It proved to be a long day sitting in the heat and sun, full of thirst and just wanting to go back home.
When the meet was over, my buddies and I piled back into the ’67 Chevy owned by my best friend and we heading up the long road home home. About 3/4 of the way back from Charleston I looked over and noticed that we were passing a vehicle filled with girls from my former high school. I said to my buddies, “Let’s moon them.”
Letting it all hang out
And so it began. Two carloads of bored and sunburned kids flashing each other as we took turns roaring past with our nakedness showing. “Let’s give ’em a fruit basket,” one of my buddies chortled. We soared past with his nuts pinched between his legs and ass.
The girls came back past us with breasts and butts and everything else smashed against the rear windows. The driver sat behind the wheel smirking. I couldn’t believe I was seeing the boobs of gals with home I’d gone to school since eighth grade. None of us were complaining.
Somehow during all this nakedness with genitals and breasts and balls and dicks flying around I scored the phone number of one of the prettiest girls in the car. The next day I called to invite her out to a movie, and she said yes. That surprised me because I’d never dated her during my time attending the other school. But again, I wasn’t going to complain.
As luck would have it, the movie Shampoo starring Warren Beatty was showing at the theaters. The whole flick was about having sex. I sat next to my date trying not to look too eager about the whole affair.
And then just like the Bob Seger song Night Moves we drove out into the cornfields to go parking on a remote road and had fun like teenagers do.
I was a little too tall
Could’ve used a few pounds
Tight pants points hardly reknown
She was a black haired beauty with big dark eyes
And points all her own sitting way up high
Way up firm and high
Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy
Out in the back seat of my ’60 Chevy
Workin’ on mysteries without any clues
Workin’ on our night moves
Trying’ to make some front page drive-in news
Workin’ on our night moves in the summertime
In the sweet summertime
That time with her almost made me glad to have missing qualifying for the state meet. And had I actually learned something from that encounter, such as the fact that women are frequently just as eager for dalliances and adventures as men, I’d have likely had even more success in that field of endeavor.
But you know, fear and lack of confidence crept back in. Those two traits have killed more ambitions than any two things in history.
Eventually I overcame those limitations as well. And every year when the state track meet comes around, I think of that race where I didn’t qualify in the mile and the swift part of that memory flashes through my mind. I remember many times thinking that being an athletic star would get me girlfriends. But then I realized it’s more about having the confidence and wit to just go up and talk to them. And perhaps be a little dangerous or interesting in whatever way you can muster. Women genuinely seem to like that.
Who can blame them? Don’t we all have the right to make life more interesting?
That said, I never saw that girl again. Years later I was told by one of our mutual friends, and one of the gals that was in the car that day… that she married a rich guy and is quite happy with him. Then her friend said, “She was one of the prettiest girls I ever knew.”
So I guess I qualified after all.