Great Valley Relays

The Great Valley Relays are the invitational hosted by Great Valley every year. Just like any other invitational tons of schools show up, only this time it was at a track that I was used to seeing without more than 50 or 60 runners on at a time.

Being our own invitational, students are asked to volunteer for setup and cleanup, meaning that you show up earlier than any other school so you can direct thier busses, and then leave after every other school so you can pick up thier trash.

The first year we went, we were the first event, and had to cut our traffic directing short to warm up. We were four freshmen running the 4xMile, and we were all determined to break 5:00. Each one of us had broken five before, but this would be the first time we stacked those times on top of each other in a relay. This would also be the first time Great Valley had four freshman under five in the mile, which is not an amazing feat, but was a nice coincidence that made us feel worthwhile.
This one featured a couple easter eggs,
you can see my friend Sam in a green hoodie
Hiding behind the top of the G. You can also
find a closeup of giraffe spandex at the
bottom of the V.

We got on the track and did what we came to do. We all ran in the fours and came home with a medal, granted it was an 8th place medal, but still, we earned 8th place.

The rest of the day was rainy and miserable. Volunteering at the end was cold and wet but still fun and I got a free meatball sandwhich out of it.

The next year, when it was discovered that I had a functioning knowledge of PhotoShop, I was asked to create the cover for the event packet. Packets were sold for $3 and featured the names of the winners from previous years and event sponsors. The cover featured the first place winners of each event that year, and was generally just thrown together in Publisher or Word.

I was determined to make a better GV Relays cover. I began by filling in Partiot logos with photos to make a collage of sorts. I found that the best shape was just a varsity letter, of which I had three readily available not to brag. It filled out the shape nicley and gave me the oprotunity to add a couple extra shapes in there to fill any gaps.

That year I spent a lot of time in the press box watching runner more impressive than I break records. Our team was featured twice on the next year relay cover.

My coach got mad at me because
I cut him off in the only picture he was in
to make room for someone else. 

That cover, after recieving complaints about not being able to make out which people were in it, was going to be a collage again, but this time with larger photos, positioned to focus on the faces. The text used the photos and added shadow arround the outside so it didn't completely block people off. It looked nice, especially since we got spiral pamphlet binding that year.

In 2013 I ran two races, neither placed highly, but both we're fun.

The 2014 GV Relays were our last, and this time we had to get in the booklet. We hadn't won last year, and we didn't sneak into the backs of any photos. We had to purchase an advertisement.

At the time, one of our coaches had been dishing out nicknames that were not relevant in the slightest to the person being named. The best of which was Señor Burk. Burk does not speak Spanish to the best of my knowledge, and at the time it was not a Spanish holiday. Señor was simply a very out of place and unwarranted nick name. In addition to his new quirky name, Señor has been running nothing besides the 800 all year, earning him the title, "Master of the Eight." It quickly became apparent what event we would sponsor, and what "product" we would be "advertising."

There was going to be way more controvercial
clutter on this advertisment too.
We all pitched in money to cover the startup cost of our new brand. We hastily added Señor's face to a picture of a Mariachi band and added some inside jokes/memes including GIF (which we will discuss heavily in another article) and "My Body Is Ready," which was posted all over our locker room (again for another article).

Our ad was controvercial. Among other actual advertisments, heartfelt memorials, and paid congradulations to other runners, our little joke, just like the nickname in the first place, was out of place. But it was too late; it was everywhere.

I don't even remember running that day. They printed so many copies of the race packet that we had a whole box of extras, we couldn't even give them away.

With the spiral binding we could turn the pages so our ad looked like the cover, so we did. We had a book signing by the legend himself. We listened intently for the announcer to say that up next on the track was, "the Señor Burk 4x800 Meter Relay." Students and parents loved a silly ad being thrown in to a relativley boring and unrelatable packet.

Minimalism.
People always worry about the impression they'll make in a lifetime, and while the ad was worth the money, we had to do something more permanate, something that would be around long after we were. The Señor Burk four by eight was ours for the year, and its a pleasure to know that we touched the lives of each and every one of the runners who were in that race. But next time we had to do something bigger.

The last year packet we did not pull the same stunt again. We can only piss off the same coach so many times in so many different ways.

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