At the Missouri State High School Activities Association track championships May 25-26 in Jefferson City it's true the sun forced it's way into a leading role exactly the way Benicio del Toro did in the Usual Suspects, by simply being too powerful and too much of a driving force for anyone to ignore.
But, just like that Christopher McQuarrie-written tale about experts competing on the biggest stage available in search of glory and gold, the state meet also had its share of subplots and side tales that could only seem funnier or more dramatic if narrated by the like of Kevin Pollack or Chaz Palminteri. Yeah, sure, it's true the girls 4x800 relay race didn't come with the sly smile and European savoir faire that Gabriel Byrne or Giancarlo Esposito do, but IRL, meaning in real life, not much does. What the state track meet did have was a style all its own and it was particular to the ladies.
Now, when everybody wears a uniform the fashion simply gets about as much attention as Brian Singer and Kevin Spacey do now-a-days. Even the shoes were so hit and miss you couldn't find a theme if you tried, and I did.
The ladies hair, on the other hand, was on point like the whole world was watching and I haven't heard a single soul talking about it. Those type of things don't just happen. It didn't matter what part of the state these individuals were from, females were showing up from every part of Missouri in Jefferson City at 9 a.m. with their hair done right and that takes time. I also takes either money, effort or both.
I saw thick braids that were tight to the head. Some had tiny braids right up along side the big braids and you had to get up close just to see them. Others had braids that flowed free in the wind when they ran, and they were attached to ladies of all races.
I can only assume part of it was strategy, which only makes sense. Who doesn't agree with the idea that if you look good, you feel good? At the same time, if your hair is all up in your face as your'e trying to compete for a state title, are you really putting your best foot forward? Did you really prepare for one of the biggest moments of your life the way you know you needed to?
I'm not trying to pick on the guys by virtue of ignoring their appearances. The fellas who had long hair tied it up to run and then let it down afterwards and nobody really paid attention either way. Probably because none of them just let it flow like Fabio in one of those old, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, commercials.
Only winners get their pictures taken. Yet, a large percentage of the female athletes arrived picture-ready for this event and that's a confidence I can respect. It was Ric Flair who said, "In order to be the best, you have to beat the best", and few have ever believed in themselves like the Nature Boy. So, to all the female athletes who came into the MSHSAA track championships believing in themselves, I see you, and I'm not the only one. After all, if you can't cheer for you, why should anyone else?