Team dinner. Two ordinary words make up one of my favorite phrases. To most, team dinners may not be awfully important but they are special to me. I’ll try to explain.
I have enjoyed team dinners ever since high school. In high school team dinners were always held the night before major cross country (or track) meets. Sometimes we would eat at Olive Garden. Other times we went to our coach’s house and still other times we would go to a member of the cross country team’s house. Every dinner was special. Not only was the food tasty, but the company was excellent.
As I think about those times in high school, a swirl of memories come to mind. I remember the time I got into a whipped cream fight, the time we had a pretend tea party, and the time little girls were giving out magical powers in the Olive Garden bathroom. I remember strawberry milkshakes, brownies with a layer of raspberry (I’ve been wanting one of those for years!), and of course pumpkin pie mixed with half a can of whipped cream (I hear it is un-American to eat it any other way.) I remember driving to team dinner with my friend and blasting Taylor Swift the entire way. But most of all I remember all of the fun and random things we would do at practice.
Here comes another swirl of memories and phrases. There was the summer I spent training with two of my teammates, (random photoshoot, Eggs and brownies after running, chasing squirrels, etc.) the time we tried to run the football from Hudson to Addison for the game but we had to use a volleyball, blanket tents, and singing while skipping. Then there are the phrases: “Quit standing around picking your noses and put up the tent!” “It’s not my problem to listen to your problem” and “That’s a nice boulder.” But enough of that. Back to team dinner.
When I was a junior in high school I started to visit colleges. The very first one I visited was Grace College and my dad had arranged it so I could practice with the team. I was so scared. Practice itself was not bad aside from the fact that I cried (lame right?) and afterwards I was invited to dinner. Team dinner. It was my very first college one and at first glance it was not anything ordinary. I don’t remember much except for the fact that I was mistaken for a transfer student and how everyone made room at the table for the next person and told them to bring up a chair.
Let’s fast forward to college. I ended up going to Grace and running on the cross country and track teams. Here team dinner became entirely different. Team dinner was everyday and special before meets. Before meets we would eat at a coach’s house or someone on the team would make dinner. No longer did we have to be home by a certain time so we were free to stay as long as we wanted (or until the time everyone decided it was time to go) and we could watch movies. These dinners were special because the food was homemade as opposed to being from the cafeteria.
In college there was the rise of everyday team dinner. After practice, some of the team would eventually make the trek to Alpha for dinner (less now that freshmen are not allowed to scan people in) where we would sit and eat together. The food isn’t always to our liking, but at least the company is always good. The conversations range in subjects from food to chick flicks. My favorite times are when the whole team is together and I can sit back and hear all of the different conversations that are going on.
Perhaps the real reason I love team dinners is because it reminds me of being home and eating dinner with my family. The team is my pseudo-family. No, more like my adopted family. It’s lively and sometimes things get messy, but it all works out in the end. As a team we spend tons of time together running, traveling, and racing. Team dinner gives us a chance to relax and interact with each other. Team dinner=spending quality time with the group of unique individuals that God has put into my life.
Is it dinner time?