Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Old School" Cross Country Uniforms

The season is underway in Happy Valley as evidenced by Owen Dawson taking splits while wearing an old fashioned singlet.  Notice the blue piping in addition to the logo.  These were almost exactly like those I wore in size XS back in the day (1977 to 1981).  The logo is larger than it used to be. The XS Dolfin short shorts (not these extra long basketball-like ones Owen is sporting!) and the old school jock strap* (Yeah, we really wore those for even the 18 milers in the Mountains!) are the only things missing!!!  Although for practice, the blues cotton shorts and grey cotton t-shirts were the uniform of the day. Every day. Rinse and repeat. At least we were told they were washed daily...


A Tale Of Two Falls

I'm not one for syrupy stories, but this time I'm all in.

Compare the two examples of falls during Championship Womens distance races from 32 years apart! Pay attention to the reactions of the two runners involved in each.

  • Zola Budd vs. Mary Decker - 1984

  • Nikki Hamblin vs. Abbey D’Agostino - 2016

Some of us old-timers remember the scorn, animosity and horrible vitriol thrown Zola Budd's way in the wake of Mary Decker's crying and whining following the ordeal.  It turned out that it was mostly a psychological thing on Mary's part and she wasn't hurt as much as she feigned.  And following a years-long delay, they finally did reconcile.  Zola is still running at a remarkable level while coaching in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Abbey immediately was thinking of the other athlete.  The milliseconds it takes to decide what to do in an unexpected situation reveals much about the person involved.  Maybe ALL about the person involved.  Gives me hope for the generation I have routinely trashed! (in a hopeful curmudgeonly way...)

Nikki and Abbey have thus received the Pierre de Coubertin Award for sportsmanship, making grouches like me smile when no one else is watching.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Tribute And A Dedication

There has been so much happening lately in our Universe.  The beginning of Cross Country Season, the Olympics and a passing of note are just some of them.

First up, we lost an honorary member of our group Friday with the passing of Paavo Wildthorn Donaghue-Gilkes.  The Vizsla was the long-time family member of Artie Gilkes and Rebecca Donaghue. Paavo has run more miles than many in our group and was better looking than almost all of us.  RIP Paavo.

Next, and I'm not making this up.  In his first interview after finishing, much credit was given to Happy Gilmore for the Bronze Medal accomplishment by Galen Rupp.  Perhaps , despite 3 (?) kids, he hasn't really grown up yet.  We can only hope!

And future  Official Physicist Ron Moore traveled back to western Pennsylvania for his high school (Hempfield) cross country Alumni Run.  His ninth place finish despite a sore hamstring probably schooled a few of the youngsters in the crowd.

And speaking of high school Alumni Runs, here is the Big Dog Run for Daughter the Younger's York Suburban XC team.  Quite a field turned out!


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Is This All That Kept Joe From Gold?

I don't think so, but there are some with considerable knowledge who say so.

Did Joe Kovac's foot touch the top of the board?  Joe didn't think so at the time and was quite vociferous about it to the judge seated next to the circle.  The mark wasn't measured when the red flag went up and the appeal was denied.  The throw was certainly past the 22 meter mark, but was it enough to pass Ryan Clouser's 73' 10.75" toss?  When I saw it, I didn't think so, but others with more knowledge say it might have been.

Let's hope our resident Throws Expert Official and Director of Security Mark Heckel will chime in and put some knowledge on us!

Here's Mark Heckel's Verdict:
 From this single photo, it's hard to determine of this a foul or not. My personal preference is to see it as a no-call, since there is nothing conclusive that this is a foul. From this angle, and remember there was probably another official on the other side, there is nothing to indicate that he was on top of the board. My general rule is that if the sole of the shoe does not crease or bend, then there was not weight on the top of the board, hence there is no contact. We are always sure to tell each other "if you think you saw something, then you saw nothing." I find it difficult for someone to be able to say, CONCLUSIVELY, that this was a foul when judged at full speed. Sadly, the same can be said for the appeal - there just wan't enough evidence to overturn the call, so it stands as a foul. Very questionable call by the officials, and should have been a no-call. BTW, a similar thing happened to Kibwe Johnson in the hammer. Some of the officiating was a bit suspect.
Thanks Mark!

Friday, August 19, 2016


Or should I say....


Joe Kovacs rallied for a throw of 71' 5.5" to place second in the Olympic Shot Put Finals.  To win the gold, he would have had to throw further than any athlete ever has in the Olympics, as Ryan Crouser set the Olympic record with a heave of 73' 10.75"!
Congrats Joe!
Joe Kovacs, Darrell Hill.

Ryan Crouser.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Olympic Update And Opinion On A New Addition To The Next Games

Darrell Hill failed to make it out of the Prelims of the Shot Put in Rio just a while ago.  While this must be extremely disappointing to him, I do think that the Shot Put has a very deep field this year.  My hat is off to him for the tremendous season he has had.  He possibly has a few more meets in Europe to come???

Joe Kovacs was one of only 6 people to auto-qualify for the Finals tonight.  Some big names round out the other 6 spots to make it to the requisite 12 finalists.  Go Joe!


Darrell Hill USA    19.56        18.99       19.56    19.50

Joe Kovacs USA    20.73 Q      19.59       20.73    -

And my choice for a new Olympic Sport for the next Games in Tokyo is Buck Buck. Possibly we can eliminate Rhythmic Gymnastics?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It Feels Good Having An Ashenfelter Back On The Team!

The Penn State Nittany Lions have another Ashenfelter on the team!  Freshman  William Ashenfelter is the grandson of Olympic Gold-Medalist Horace Ashenfelter III.  He is a middle distance specialist from Needham, Massachusetts.

Namesake Bill Ashenfelter, grandfather Horace Ashenfelter and Curt Stone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Physics Helped Jeff Henderson Win Gold!

But of course it did!  As Sheldon Cooper has taught us, "All is Physics."  But in Henderson's case, he actually trained with the aid of some Physics from USC's Science professors.  I think they actually stole Dr. Cooper's white board.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Caddyshack: 36 Years Old Today!

Ten Things you didn't know about Caddyshack!

  1. Bill Murray improvised the entire "Cinderella Story" monologue with only one sentence of direction.
  2. The gopher noises in the movie were the same noises made by "Flipper" the porpoise.
  3. Bill Murray's brother wrote the screenplay.
  4. Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase were originally signed to do cameos.
  5. Tiger Woods once did a commercial as Carl Spackler.
  6. Harold Ramis wanted the musical score to be entirely Pink Floyd music.
  7. The second story of the Bushwood Clubhouse was a fake facade.
  8. The movie was supposedly in Nebraska, although it was filmed in Florida.
  9. Cindy Morgan at first refused to appear topless in the film.
  10. Chevy Chase and Bill Murray had to have the scene of them meeting in the equipment shed added at the end of filming, or they would not have ever appeared in the film together.
  11. Bonus!  Sarah Holcolmb only appeared in 4 movies before retiring.  Two were the best 2 films ever made.*
  12. Bonus 2!  The initial bad reviews led to the suicide of main writer, Doug Kenney. RIP

* Opinions may vary. But not by much...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Coach Groves Gets Some All-American Visits During Olympics Time

In addition to the daily visit from our own All-American Course Monitor Greg Fredericks, Coach Groves also received some additional visits from several others while enjoying some fine Olympics Track and Field Action this weekend.

Here Coach shows off our group's highest honor, The Rusty Boot, to Steve Balkey and Steve Shisler, among others.  Bob Hudson was also around.

Fill me in on who the others are!

News from Steve Balkey, always right on top of things:  That's David McMillen, center, a formidable 1500M to 10K runner from South Africa, and Randy Moore, right!  I was ashamed to not recognize Randy, but I haven't seen him in quite a while.  Wonder if he remembers that great Christmas Party in Center City Philly we had in 1984-1985 or so?  And I'll bet he doesn't recognize me either!

And Phil Caraher and family made the long trip from North Carolina to see Coach.

Phil Caraher with a new T-Shirt!
But that wasn't all for Phil, as he apparently went golfing with Coach Bill Whittaker.  I have always said that it just isn't fair practicing for the next Coach Groves Tournament!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Who Knew That Beef Was A Physicist In Addition To A Hammer Thrower And A Blue Band Captain?

Mark "Beef" Heckel was our Hammer Thrower back in the olden days of the late 70s and early 80s.  But he was also a great student and a Blue Band Section Leader.  And now he is a top-notch Field Official on the National scene.

But apparently he was also better at Physics than I was!

One of his many hats!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Olympic Games Finally Begin

We all know that the Olympics are a bunch of fluff, and then Athletics!  The Track and Field finally started today, and I get to binge watch all that is on.

So far, I have seen some disappointing 800M running from the Americans, although 2 of them might make it through to the 3 Semi-Finals.  The 800M is a strong Olympic Event this year.

Here's a blast from the past as a way of introducing the real games!

Mike Shine in the 1976 Semi-Finals

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