Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Big Advantage

#PSUXC's tweet of the team's first run brings back many memories for me from August 1977.  I distinctly remember those first runs with team captains Bruce Baden and John Zeigler.  They welcomed me with open arms and "showed me the ropes" as if we were childhood friends.  John has been a friend ever since.  We cross paths frequently, being in the same profession.  And it was a huge pleasure when I last saw Bruce at Coach Groves' Retirement Celebration in 2006.  I am sure we will resume a great relationship the very next time we cross paths.  Maybe someone out there will convince him to thrash the greenery on the golf course next year.

Coach Gondak and the team's first run in the State Game Lands.

And in those early years, Coach Groves always somehow appeared at least twice every distance run, just like Coach Gondak here. Out of the blue, there he was, somewhere in the woods, holding his stopwatch and barking things few of us actually heard.

Certainly, the rural setting of PSU gives us an advantage in the myriad of running trails right next to campus to entice future distance stars. It's about time we start promoting that more broadly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back To School!

Youngsters across the nation are heading back to school in droves.  And that means college too.  Three different Group Idiots, me among them, are carting their kids to PSU and branch campuses this Friday.  Good luck to Founder Clark Haley and Grand Exalted IT Czar Jeff Sanden as they haul their eldest to Freshman Move-In Day.  (Don't forget your fans for the hot dorm rooms!)  Former pole vaulter Don Skerpon also will be hauling his youngest to State College to join the Track and Field Team as a hurdler.  Best of luck to all!

I have not been fazed by any of Daughter the Elder's life transitions up until now, but I'll admit this one is going to get to me. I'm happy she will be running cross-country at the Mont Alto branch campus for an excellent coach and mentor, Bill Preston.  I have told her often that the friends you make on a team in college will be the best friends you will ever make.  She has seen first hand that PSU Track Alumni Golfers are the most intelligent, most interesting and most accomplished group of people anyone can come across.  And it is what keeps me going in trying to motivate as many of you as possible to become involved.  Our record here at the blog has been quite good, and we will even get better.

Does anyone remember if we ever had an actual team meeting for Cross Country.  I certainly don't remember any.  Unless the Mountain Runs counted as one...

2014 XC Team Meeting.
And here's a little first day history lesson for Freshman Rodney Dangerfield by Professor Sam Kinison which has quite a bit of relevance for us today. Content warning for swear words!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This One Will Take Some Getting Used To


But Coach Gondak will be beginning his first Mens and Womens Cross Country season and it's up to all of us to do what we can to make it a success.  Throw your support behind the PSU Program and Coach Gondak with actions and contributions if you are able. It looks to be a great year for PSU XC and Track and Field.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Challenge Accepted

I'm sure you are all aware of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that is sweeping the nation thanks to social media.If you are living under rock the following videos will bring you up to speed as Coach Gondak accepts the challenge from co-blogger Nick Scarpello. More to come if the folks Gondak has called out accept the challenge.

On an unrelated topic, Shana Cox has helped The United Kingdom follow up their bronze medal 4x400 at the Commonwealth Games with another bronze at the European Championships. Results here




Update: Mark Parker was challenged by Kobe Bryant and accepted as well.

Golfing Brings Us A Rare Example Of Good News Lately

  “It again shows the great values and traditions of the game and the honesty and integrity of its competitors.”


With track and field headlines dominated by PED suspensions, shirtless suspensions, phantom disqualifications and other negativities, let's turn to Golf for a little good news in this crazy world.

Cameron Tringale realized HE MAY HAVE broken a rule and demanded to be disqualified from the PGA Championships just in case.  That means he gave up $53,000 without knowing if he really did anything wrong.  There was no one who could have testified against him.  No one saw what happened, and even Cameron wasn't sure if he had addressed the ball before his little air swing above it. 

Hats off to Cameron.  I wish track and field had the honesty you do.

For those non-golfers out there, you should really join us on the links next May for the Coach Groves golf tourney, where competent experts can help you with the fundamentals of the game.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

This First Pitch Was a Miracle

Scott Fahs

I had almost nothing at all to do with it, but I can't help but smile anyway.  One of my patients got the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards recently.  You aren't likely to find more of an Oriole fan anywhere.  All I did was help him with his (sometimes significant) foot problems over the years.*


Scott Fahs has been a patient for a number of years, and I've seen his transformation recently as somewhat of a miracle.  His son graduated from high school with my daughter recently, and he never figured he would live to see it.  Now he actually will be beginning rehab in addition to all the practice he did throwing the baseball!  You can read some about his medical pilgrimage and his love of the Orioles in this article:

Heart transplant recipient, avid "School of Roch" fan Fahs to throw out first pitch

He assured me he would do better than President Obama and Fitty Cent, and he followed through!



*I obtained verbal permission from Scott to divulge even that minimal information on his medical care to comply with the HIPAA requirements.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Steeplechase Jerk: At Least He Wasn't Slitting Throats*

Gloating at the finish line garners even more scorn from officials than "magically" bumping a Salazar-coached runner from afar during an indoor championship race!  Or so it seems.

But French steepler Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad has a history of finish line antics including slugging a competitor and shoving a 12 year-old girl in a mascot costume.  So when he took his shirt off down the homestretch, official showed him a yellow card.  Then it turned into a red card and he was disqualified as the winner of the European Steeplechase title.  They had a track meet and then a soccer match broke out!




*Throat-slit reference HERE.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Was My Grandmother Right All Along?

Whenever I told her about my runs, she was mystified about the whole sport.  She never understood anything about it.  When I would tell her I just returned from a ten mile run, she would reply, "But you're still here?"  She really never understood why someone would voluntarily run any more than a little without coercion.  She would immediately begin cooking something to fatten me up.  (It ended up working only years after her passing!)

And now there is all this "scientific confirmation" that long distances and strenuous exercise is detrimental to one's health.  Maybe anything more than 4 miles daily will kill you! I'm, of course, quite skeptical of these scientists.  These are the same types of people that told us coffee will kill us, cure us and then kill us again.  Butter is now preferred to margarine by "experts".  And don't get me started about the whole salt intake dichotomy... 

Artist's Conception of a 35 mile/week runner and racketball player

Thursday, August 14, 2014

As We Await the Beginning of Cross Country Season...

Here's some old-timey photo goodness from the 1983 Penn Relays Distance Medley Relay Championship of America, featuring Penn State Track Alumni Golfers Paul McLauglin (800M) to Founder and Professor Emeritus Clark Haley (1600M).  Does anyone know the results and time?  

This was the year of Coach Groves' first 4 x 800 M COA victory.  And the time my wife caught him crying in the stands.  He asked her to not tell anyone, and she didn't for about 30 seconds or so until she found me!

Paul McLaughlin with Clark Haley "hugging the wall"

Paul handing to Clark! Go, Clark, go!

This Is SportsCenter

Looks like Casimir Loxsom was on the ESPN campus recently and even though this is a spoof of a "This Is SportsCenter" commercial, it still gets a chuckle. Shame it won't be on TV anytime soon.



 
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