You will be happy to know that I finally did end up connecting with track athletes down in Puerto Rico. Although, truth be told I was beginning to really begin to like my new boxing buddies. There is only one of them that spoke English to us, but all the others tried their best to communicate and were always ready with smiles and handshakes each morning. I have no idea why they liked us being out there and kept anticipating our return each day. Perhaps it’s because we were female, or maybe just because we shook up their every day routine a little bit and introduced a few new things into the mix. Whatever it was, it almost made being up before the sun bearable.
Our visit to the track club was pretty much like the whole trip…an unknown plan until we got there. We were picked up by a random stranger who ended up being one of the highlights of the whole day. Angel was originally from the Bronx but had been in Puerto Rico for over 30 years, even though he sounded like he left the Bronx yesterday. He took us up the mountain to a small town named Barranquitas, where 60 kids were anxiously awaiting us. We had no idea what ages these kids would be or what they wanted us to do with them so we pretty much made up a plan on the fly. The kids ended up ranging from ages 8 to 17. It’s hard to teach an 8 year old the same things you would teach a teenager…all without knowing how to communicate in the same language, but we made the best of it.
At the end of the day, even though my translator was definitely adding in his own coaching tips (I clearly only said a few words, and he rambled for far longer than what it takes to communicate drive your knee up), I hope that everyone gained just a little something from our being there. We shared our expertise as well as our belief in the importance of finding the right balance in your athletic life, personal life, and spiritual life. I just hope that sentiment was translated correctly! It was nice to feel appreciated though, and at the very least I did have some new facebook friend requests. Welcome to 2010. ?