All State

Posting early again because we’re headed to dinner.

Five hundred people gathered to honor my sister-in-law last night. Well, not just her, but she got the biggest round of applause because her friends, family and athletic stars were “in the house.”

Sharon Riley received the award as the Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association Outdoor Track and Field All State Girls Outdoor Track and Field Assistant Coach of the Year. Supporting her were her son, her sister and sister’s husband, her brother and brother’s wife (that would be me), two of the athletes who were being recognized. One young lady brought her mother, father and sister. The other, her mother.

The two young ladies received their acknowledgment as well: Whitney Holder was athlete of the year for Class L – that’s large but not huge – for the 200 meter and the long jump. She also won the “open” and the New England Regional Championship for the long jump. Go, Whitney! Taylor Bartolotta took athlete of the year for the javelin. Deb and Sharon are going to miss those two next year.

The Aqua Turf served as the setting. It’s probably the only place in the state that can accommodate that many people. It’s certainly beautiful on the outside pools with fountains adorn both sides of the main entrance, with its approach over a small bridge. Trees shade mammoth impatiens. The scenery encouraged a walk around the grounds. The weather didn’t since we’re still under this sticky, damp, drizzly, cool air mass that the weather people swear will end today.

Inside the Aqua Turf screams, “move ‘em in, move ‘em out.” Besides our room with 500 people, another room of equal size had probably the same number. And two smaller buildings hold probably several hundred more. The parking lots (that’s plural) looked all of central Connecticut and part of Massachusetts had arrived for the evening. The food was mediocre, but started with a fresh salad of mixed greens. They should have left it at that because the rest consisted of a single crouton, a single (underripe) tomato, a cucumber all in a creamy Italian dressing. The roast beef arrived so rare that it almost got up and walked away, with the blood pooling the bottom of the plate. The ubiquitous pasta wore a meat sauce. I asked about vegetarian options and received a well-cooked but quite salty eggplant Parmesan. Dessert was ice cream covered with chocolate sauce. They forgot to serve us coffee.

All in all, however, a successful evening.

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