BY JEFF FALK
They are constantly contrasting concepts which reflect our upbrings, and they have helped mold what our society has become.
Liberal and conservative.
Traditional or fresh.
Status quo opposed by change.
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ versus a never-ending pursuit of improvement.
Specifically, the Lebanon County Track and Field Championships would fall into that latter category.
There is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with the county track and field meet, that was abundantly evident last Saturday at Lebanon High School. In fact, through the hard work of its organizers, the County meet has evolved into one of the premiere – if not THE finest – athletic events locally.
Is it perfect? No. But because it has blossomed into such a cool and unique athletic event, why not share its success among every Lebanon County school interested in hosting it?
“If someone asked me ten years ago if we’d like to host it, I would’ve said ‘Sure’,” said Cedar Crest boys’ track and field coach Rob Bare. “But now, I’m a traditionalist. It feels right to come here. It feels good to come here.
“That’s a good question,” Bare continued. “I’m sure we’d like to host it some year, as long as my assistant coaches did all the work.”
“For me, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said Elco head coach Bob Miller. “I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘You know, why do they have to have it every year?’ They do a great job here.”
“If I had to vote, I’d vote to have it stay here,” said Dan Rau, who’s Lebanon High hosts the annual meet. “If every other coach felt that way, and there was a vote, I’d be OK with it. If you told me we’re not going to have it here that would be all right with me.”
Since it’s inception nearly 30 years ago, the Lebanon County Track and Field Championships has always been staged at Lebanon High. It is the championship of local track and field conducted in the most centrally located school in Lebanon County.
But almost every other similar Lebanon County championship, including wrestling, amateur golf and cross country, rotates its venue among destinations interested in hosting them.
“I don’t know,’ hedged Bare. “In years past, we’ve thought about it. And I know Palmyra has thought about it.”
“I don’t know what goes into it,” said Miller. “I’m comfortable here. They have the track here. They say it’s a fast track. It can go either way. It’s not one of my concerns.”
Almost every of the other five track-and-field-sponsoring high schools in Lebanon County is equipped with the facilities to host the meet. Apparently what it comes down to is desire, manpower and time.
“Yes, we like hosting it,” said Rau. “It’s just a great tradition, with Lebanon being the center of the county. This being the first all-weather track in Lebanon County. It’s something we can contest here.
“You’d have to ask our boosters and maintenance crew (exactly how much preparation it demands),” Rau continued. “All we do (the Cedar track and field team) is set up the hurdles. That makes it easy for us.”
“It’s the six county schools all together in one place,” said Bare. “Everybody gets along with each other. Everybody appreciates what everybody else is doing. Everybody wants to be a county champ.”
“It’s a great event for our kids,” said Miller. “There’s a lot of schools here we don’t normally see. We compete against Northern Lebanon and Annville-Cleona in our section, but we don’t get to see Cedar Crest, Palmyra and Lebanon. It’s in a different light. It generates more intensity. It’s a lot of fun.”
But could it be more fun?