I drove up to the high school a little while ago to pick up Darling Daughter from her second morning of Cross Country conditioning. I thought it was a bit odd that I passed her and her coach walking down the main road on my way. They run down trails through the woods, so why would they be on the road? Well, maybe they took a longer route today and ended up at the street, I reasoned. And then, she looked as though she had been crying. Was she upset because she had to walk part of it? No, that isn't like her. She doesn't cry over stuff she just works harder. She's probably just hot. So I waved at them as I drove by and pulled into the school parking lot to wait.
Darling Daughter got into the car 15 minutes later and it was obvious that she HAD been crying. What was the matter?
Well, this morning the only kids who showed up to practice were boys. And my daughter. These would be much taller boys. Boys with longer strides. Boys who run faster than a 5 foot tall girl. Boys that ran off and left her. In the woods. Where she has only run twice and isn't familiar with the trails.
So she got lost!
She realized pretty soon that she was unfamiliar with her surroundings and thought she may have been going the wrong way. She turned around and headed back the other way, but couldn't find the right trail. She knew that no matter which way she went, she would eventually end up back at a road that she knew...she just had no clue if that would be the road to the school, our neighborhood or the big highway! And since she was running...no cell phone. Ugh. My baby girl lost and alone in the cold, dark, scary woods!! By herself! With wild animals!
Well, it finally dawned on her coach, who was running WITH THE BOYS, that he hadn't seen her in a while. So he went back to look for her, calling her name. He found her and yes, she was crying. He was just as upset as she was, and has promised to mark the trails more clearly.
I'm thinking of a few ways to fix this situation. First of all...yes, trails more clearly marked. Great idea. Second...make sure the kids KNOW which trails to take. Third...she needs a GPS locator beacon implanted behind her ear. Oh, and I'm making her take a pack to carry water and her phone. Possibly some freeze dried food. And maybe some pepper spray. I mean, she could have been eaten by wolves! Attacked by hungry squirrels! Fallen into a bee hive!
And in conclusion, I will be requiring the coach to STAY with the only GIRL running all alone!! Unless more girls show up.