If you’re reading this out of sincere personal interest, and not general curiosity, chances are you’ve accomplished something great: you’ve qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, meaning you’re among the best at your particular discipline in your particular sport in the entire country.
And you’re a senior–meaning you are going out on a high note before entering the real world.
For some, just giving it your all will be enough to close out a memorable and hopefully fulfilling athletic career. For fewer, this meet will be a stepping stone toward a career in professional athletics.
But for those who fall outside of these two camps, who are surely done after NCAAs, but also can’t envision simply stepping off the track, this Bud’s for you.
Let’s take that high note, and bump it up to that eighth octave C8. These are the three key tenants of an unforgettable retirement.
If we’ve learned anything over the course of the last year of American history, it’s that substance means very little. It’s not what you do. To a small extent it’s more about how you do it and to an even greater extent, it’s what you say and project that people will remember.
As such, announcing your formal retirement from competitive racing by texting your parents won’t make a ripple.
Instead, upon crossing the finish line/wrapping up your field event, don’t stop running. In one fluid motion, grab your spikeless training shoe then head toward the nearest Hayward exit. Orient yourself toward the McKenzie River and hustle to a publicly accessible shore.
Tie your spikes together. Swing them above your head like a lasso. Let out a primal yip as you release your trusty spikes into the rapids of the river. Like a goddamn cartoon character, dust off your hands by clapping them together, put on your regular shoes, then walk back toward the track.
Notice how I used “toward” instead of “to” when describing your vector. That’s because you aren’t going back to the track.
The time to consume is upon you.
But I’m not talking about beer because binge drinking isn’t that cool and neither is alcoholism. I’m talking about gluttony as it pertains to solids. Go to the Burrito Boy at 510 East Broadway and open up a tab. If they say “you can’t open up a tab, because this is a take-out Mexican food restaurant,” go to the nearest ATM, pull out a $20 bill, return to the restaurant and place it on the counter while calmly asking “What can I get for twenty bones?” It should be a lot.
This is where you’ll truly ensure you live in infamy for perpetuity. Plenty of athletes have tossed their shoes in a body of water, and even more have eaten themselves to a good stomach-pumping. But I don’t know of a single documented case of an athlete penning their farewell to the sport via airplane exhaust.
Something as simple as “SMELL YA LATER, TRACK” should get your point across, but feel free to make the text really sing.
As an added bonus, you’ll be supporting local business. And there are actually way more Eugene-serving sky-writers than you’d expect, so be sure to pick the one who looks to be struggling the most.
You’ll want to make sure this part is arranged before your race so your manifesto is scrawled in the pollen-filled Eugene sky while you’re chucking your personal effects into the river and gorging yourself on bean and cheese burritos.
And it’s as simple as that. You may not win your race at NCAAs. But you’ll find yourself on the fast track to remembrance.