College distance runners usually do as their coach says and work hard at team practices, except sometimes. Mischief happens now and then, especially in the off-season when there’s no meet coming up.
On a snowy, winter afternoon when I was on the track and cross-country team at Spokane Falls Community College, I talked my teammates into leaving the road we were running along to drop snow bombs on passing cars from a railroad bridge, pictured below, which passes over Greenwood Road in Spokane. If you work in security or are an executive for Burlington Northern Railway, please stop reading this now.
The snow was pretty fluffy, and we didn’t roll giant snowballs or pack it tightly- we dropped slightly larger than throwing size which we were confident wouldn’t cause any damage.
It was quite a drop from the bridge to the road below, so releasing our snow bombs at the right moment wasn’t as easy as it seemed. In addition, the road below wasn’t a busy one, so our opportunities were limited.
After several attempts, we started honing our skills and had a couple near-hits. Then, we got interrupted.
Because the bridge and the approach to it is on a curve with steep embankments, and our attention was firmly focused on dropping snow bombs, we failed to notice the train.
You’d think we’d hear the rumble and the loud drone of the diesel engines, but it wasn’t until it was nearly onto the bridge that we noticed it.
It was a very good thing that all of us just happened to be runners. We sprinted off the bridge and watched the train rumble past.
We failed to score a single hit with our snow bombs, and after the train moment, we no longer had an appetite for more tries. We made our way down to the road and resumed our run.