Summer 1978. Franklin, Indiana. My childhood friend, Richard Jordan, and I were the fastest kids among our friends. We had a long standing debate about who was the fastest between us. Watching this display of would be alpha male preening was my father. It was late in the afternoon, he stood on the porch in one of his “ready to go out” outfits, dressed to the nines, pimp shoes in full effect chuckling over us.

“I used to be pretty fast in my day,” he said.

“Yeah, right.” We didn’t mean to sound as dismissive as we were. Well, maybe we did. We were all of 7 and 8, masters of the playground. My dad was old. Big, as in 250+ pounds big. Taller than both me and Richard stacked atop each other. Smoking his cigarette, drinking his “warm up” drink. Obviously, there was only one way we could settle this.

“You want to race us?”

“I guess I could give it a shot.” My dad walked the length of the brick paved road (it was the last brick paved road in the city. To this day, there remains a small strip of the street that is brick-paved to remind everyone of how the street used to be). He set his drink and his cigarette at the finish line and walked back to us.

By now my brother and some of our friends gathered on our front porch to watch. Me and Richard grinned broadly at one another, all but high fiving ourselves in anticipation.

“Someone want to count it off?” my dad asked.

Our friend Missy shouted from the porch. “Ready, set, … go!”

Richard and I were fast. Richard and I both went on to have some pretty good track and field careers through junior and high school.

My dad, in his slick dress shoes, reached the finish line and had time to take a drag from his cigarette and a swig from his glass before we crossed the line. He didn’t say anything. Just walked back to the porch, our friends parting for him in awed silence, as he went back into the house. He never did mention that he still held all of the track and field (as well as many of the football and basketball) records in Franklin High School.

Summer 2009. Indianapolis, Indiana. My boys Reese and Malcolm were running in the gym in the Harrison Center during one of our First Friday tours. They asked me if I could race with them. So I set down my “warm up” drink (it was wine and champagne night along the First Fridays tour), and …

So we can add this to the list of Broaddus Family traditions (okay, I’ll admit, I was trying to grab my drink in mid-leap). What scares me is wondering if my dad wasn’t running at full tilt either.