Traffic in Manhattan is always hairy, but if you venture towards Fort Washington Avenue this weekend, there’s another peril….runners. As you draw closer to the Armory, you’ll face hoards of them, jogging or running strides, alone or in groups, warming up or cooling down. That’s because this is the weekend of New Balance Nationals Indoor, and the best high school track & field athletes in the nation are gathering at the Armory to battle for the title of All-American. Eastbay is here too, soaking up the sights and sounds of the meet.
And trust me, there are plenty of sounds. Right now, I’m writing this squeezed into a bleacher seat on the fourth floor overlooking the track. I can barely hear myself think through these words as I type them. Why? Because Olympian Sydney McLaughlin is running her first heat and this crowd is bringing down the house.
New Balance Nationals is a MAJOR sporting event, and no one in this building will hear you say otherwise. If they can hear you say anything at all, that is. Between the constant BANG of the starting pistol (today is filled with LOTS of sprint heats), the clapping, screaming, and cheering, the excitement within the Armory is palpable. You can’t just hear it — you can feel it and see it everywhere you look.
You can see it in the competitors. Yesterday, a coach animatedly discussed strategy with his pole vaulter between rounds of competition. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t hear his advice, but everything I needed to know was in his gestures. And his athlete’s response to them. She had a laser focus on all his movements, never flinching or breaking eye contact, despite the noise and action surrounding her. As soon as she finished a vault, she bee-lined back for more encouragement and advice.
You can feel it in the downtime between heats. When these athletes walk into the Eastbay Experience, their energy is contagious.
Celebrating with our photo wall, entering for a chance to win an Eastbay Gift Card, flipping through our catalog featuring Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell, or creating customized bag tags for their New Balance Nationals-exclusive backpacks only adds to the fun.
We’re getting caught up in all the action too. It’s taken me way too long to write this for you, because I can’t tear my eyes away from the track. Currently, boys’ pole vault is going for a national record. If you’re watching too, from the event itself, or from an online stream, I’m sure you know how I feel. We’re all gasping and cheering through every jump.
AND THERE IT GOES. A new World Junior Record. That’s one way to reach new heights. 19’1” to be exact.