It is said that the Great Plains that run from Canada through the United States and into Mexico were once home to over 30,000,000 buffalo, or bison as they are known formally. Herds stretched for miles and miles both wide and long. Fear and awe struck all that marveled as the ground shook from the thunder of the buffalo hooves.
That thunder always comes to mind whenever I am in Lincoln for indoor track and field as I was over the weekend at the Big 12 Championships. Where once real buffalo did roam, there now stands a track where Buffalo roamed again along with Jayhawks, Tigers, Wildcats, Longhorns and others. Thanks to a track hand built in Italy, the ground shook and thundered once more.
It never is tiring to watch the Nebraska 200 meter track suddenly begin to rise through the corners thanks to special underground mechanical lifts. A track that was flat as the plains for the sprints can be quickly transformed into a highly-banked wonder.
The rubberized surface set on hard wood has a forgiving bounce that is a blessing for the runners. It also echoes with a thunder as runners in the 5K and 3K races gallop along lap after lap. That thunder begins as a rumble in the far corners. It stills for brief moments on the straights and then grows to full fury as the runners sweep past in a blur of color and motion.
That moment is but one of many small joys that my life has allowed me to cherish and for which I will always be thankful.