Thursday, March 3, 2011

Running on empty

This is a photo I took of Theresa Hodge, who is the high school track and field commissioner on St. Thomas. Moments before, she delicately poured baking flour on the track to mark the finish line for an island meet held Thursday at Charlotte Amalie High School.

When I asked her if that was indeed baking flour, she sort of gave me a sly look and snickered.

"Yup, it's come to this," she said.

Just two days earlier, she held an elementary school track meet on a grass field and it took her two days to mark the lanes in different colors with spray paint.

"It's kind of hard to have a track meet when you don't have a track to run on," she said. "Some people wouldn't even consider this a track. What do you think?"

The track at CAHS -- the only one that exists on St. Thomas -- has been decaying for years. They can't even use Lane 1 because of all the divots. I wrote a story in the Daily News about it in August but the athletic director, who went off on the government during our interview, almost got fired.

Quote from the story:

"We are America's paradise and we don't look like it. We don't look like it at all. The facilities around here make us look like third world."

He had a very good point but to save his job, he scheduled a press telephone conference the day after the story was published and he apologized for his remarks.

And so it goes. The track still looks like shit and athletes still hold back because they don't want to get hurt.

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