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No More Street Walking, Track Is Back Open

                 Hill Country Living
                      By Coulter Fussell

The track is back! Our lovely Crawford Sports Complex track is reopened for use as of last Friday and I imagine there was a collective “Hooray” around town among a certain devoted group of us when the Mayor cast the deciding vote to let us back in.       

It has been so sad these last weeks without it! Not every town has a half-mile track (that’s huge!) that is out in pretty fields surrounded by creeks and forests. Watching everyone turn around at the caution tape between the two oak trees and having to walk back past Sonic without having burned off enough calories to eat a single-patty cheeseburger burger later that day was very demoralizing.

The Water Valley population of walkers and runners has been the same set of folks for years. I have full-on devoted-to-waving relationships with people that are going on well over a decade and a half now. In some cases we’ve never spoken a word to each other because we walk on opposite sides of the road or run in the same direction on the track. So we just wave. Everyday! Then there are others where every single day we have the same conversations…”Morning! How ya doin’? Good…Hot!”…because that’s all you can get out in the .0003 seconds you pass each other.

It’s a motley crew, too. You have what I call your Friendly Big Men with Big Sticks, your Couples Who Walk Together, your Teenagers Who Are Very Fast And Make It Look Annoyingly Easy, your Devoted Dog Lovers, your Random People Who You Aren’t Sure If They Exercising Or Actually Going Somewhere, your Cute Old Folks, your Runners Who Know What They’re Doing, your Runners Who Look Absolutely Miserable ( this is me), your Walkers Who Go So Fast They Might As Well Be Running, your Straight Chill Slow-Roll Cruisers Talking Loud On Their Phone So You Know All Their Business, and your Dogs Who Chase/Attack Us.

Exercise and sports may not be everyone’s cup of tea or jug of Gatorade. But when a sports activity is a major part of your life, then it really means something big when it’s gone. In fact, it means so much that many people just won’t stop. So when the track closed we just took to the streets full-time. Which is dangerous with the traffic and the virus out there. It’s especially dangerous for people new to exercising around town ( it’s seriously not safe, traffic does NOT stop so you need to learn unwritten rules and routes) which was a substantial set of folks due to the shut-down. I don’t have to go over why opening the track was a good idea for walkers and runners as opposed to walking and running on the streets. It’s just too obvious.

And it’s not just a good idea for the adults. I have friends who need to teach their kids to ride a bike but, hey, we live in the hills and putting a 5 year old on their bike to fly down Wood Street or ride into traffic on our flat Main Street is probably not the best idea. Not everyone has acres of yard to run around on or access to the time, money and vehicle it takes to go visit a state park everyday.

While the track was closed my youngest kid was forced to try to fly his kite in the big front yard of Springhill North MB Church behind Valley Lumber but power lines kept getting in the way. Also we were technically trespassing (even though I know the church wouldn’t mind.) All the dudes on the block were very encouraging with our failed attempts, though! I kept hoping for divine intervention since we were on holy ground but, knowing me, my kite was probably closer to getting a good ol’ fashioned lightening strike.

All this to say: “Lets go walking, Mississippi!”        – Deuce McAllister

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