Chalky artifacts

I’ve been shuffling the roads and sidewalks of Concord a bit, once—wonderfully—with H. The other day I was running near a park and saw that a crew was grooming the baseball diamond. Concord seems to have a lot of good, public, full-sized baseball diamonds (as distinct from softball or little league fields, which it also has), and the city maintains them very nicely.

I’ve always been a sucker for that green, fresh-chalked look, and I thought I might head over for a closer squint. (From home plate you can look down either line toward…infinity. This ain’t no basketball court.) And maybe even a chat with the crew about their work and the Sawx.

But I was distracted from my purpose by another line that’s less resonant but just as close to my heart. Entering the park I ran across this:

It’s a chalked arrow of the kind I followed more times than I can count as a cross-country runner in high school and college, and that I laid down later as a coach and meet director. This one takes a wicked 90° turn through a narrow granite gateway, tough enough solo but it must be murder at speed with an opponent on your shoulder. You’d better have the inside position.

I quartered the park, but came across only a few yards of x-c markings here and there. On the street beyond, though, I picked up more arrows and the course’s 1-mile mark. (We now run meters here, but tend to mark the miles as well.) There was a middle school nearby, so this is perhaps a short course for young runners, which would also account for the possibility of that brutal turn.

Come fall, those beautiful white foul lines will be faded into browning grass, but the arrows will be freshened up bright. Perfect for me. I’ve always felt that baseball was the greatest game, and running the greatest sport.

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