20th Annual Penn State Track and Field/XC Reunion

And SAVE THE DATE! The Executive Committee meeting of the Officers of the Group convened and chose the dates for the 2022 Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tournament. This will be the 20th anniversary of the formulation of this whole shebang, and you better SAVE THE DATE!! So set aside May 13th and 14th, 2022. (Each year will alternate between May and August) We will be going all out for this event and you won't want to miss it. Adult beverages, camaraderie with old and new friends, mediocre golf, AND LIVE MUSIC FROM PROFESSIONALS! Stay tuned...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Great Performance #3: A Surprise

Having ignored all 10 of my readers, and all 20 or so votes in the poll, Greg Frederick's 1972 American Record 10K in 28:08.0 has been selected as the third in our series of Great Performances. Included is the July 1972 cover of Track and Field News. The other photo is of Greg at the Penn Relays, prepping for the OlympicTrials eight years later. (I will one day spit on the grave of Jimmy Carter.) It boggles my mind how hard it would be to continue at such a high level for a whole decade. Greg truly is special. (I think I could take him in a round of eighteen holes though!)

Greg was a newcomer and somewhat reluctant 10,000 meter runner in 1972. At the AAU Championships leading up to the Olympic Trials, Greg was among the top level of runners. Among the others were Jack Bacheler, Frank Shorter, Jeff Galloway and Tom Laris. Easing into the first mile at 4:30, Frank Shorter was later miffed that no one was willing to share the pace. When the second mile passed in 9:04, Shorter decided to try to run away with the race, owing to the relative finishing speed of the others. Laris, Greg, and Bacheler stayed with Shorter, with Greg passing 6 miles in 27:21.8 (a PR and collegiate record). Greg blazed the last 220 yards in 26.6 and the final 440 in 55.2! (Remember you"youngins"- 440 yards is longer than 400 meters).

At the time, his American Record was 12th on the All-Time World List, better than Billy Mills and Gerry Lingren's previous bests (both 10000 meters and 6-mile equivalent). Now a Systems Analyst at PSU's Applied Research Laboratory, Greg will attempt to golf at this year's Harry Groves Memorial Tournament and will bring many friends with him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Hope I Like Grouper!

Don Ziter doubled down early during Game 5 (3 days ago!), so I've won 4 Grouper sandwiches from sunny Florida. I hopeI like Grouper sandwiches! The Phillies have done me proud. I guess this is payback for the fact that I must now continue working until I'm 80 years-old.* With the Red Wings, PSU football and the Phillies all atop their respective universes, I guess I'll have to accept it.

* Continued political references are now downright annoying.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Off-Topic Rant: Changing the Rules Without Letting Me Know!

Baseball has always been my favorite sport. Yes, that means hockey is second, eh. With all the crap going on after Monday's Game 5, one thing has been left out. Bud and his cronies changed the rules and hardly let anyone know. Left out of the loop were, of course, the fans, but also the announcers and the actual players themselves. Never before in baseball history was a game that was shortened by rain continued where it was left off regardless of the score. The players were playing a game for which they didn't know the rules! You may say that because it was a tie, of course it will be continued. But you miss the fact that last Saturday Bud and his cronies met with representatives from the umpires, the Phillies and the (Devil!) Rays to state that no matter what the score, the game would be continued from whenever it was stopped. This is a fundamental change in the rules of baseball going back to when Civil War soldiers played it. All this without a single vote or a single announcement. The beneficiaries of this are, of course, Fox and MLB, as they now get a whole extra day of showing us endless commercials about male "enhancement" products, automobiles we can't afford, and Obama/McCain* infomercials.

Normally, rules changes take forever to make in baseball, owing to its long history. The severely limited use of instant replay has taken years to be adopted. This rule was adopted overnight, with no input from 30 teams or, most importantly ME (a loyal fan!) The gall of Bud and the boys. How dare they!

I wouldn't have been happy if Philly had won a shortened game in the 5th inning (when the field truly beame unplayable), but that would have been the rules for the first 120 or so years of the game. Now, I guess that's different. Just so we can be reminded of Cialis's benefits in our lives, and how 95% of our taxes are going to go drastically down in the upcoming years.*

*political commentary, however vague, is getting ridiculous on this blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Harry Smith Drunk, Loses Cup! (The Other One)

After a night of celebrating their Stanley Cup victory in 1905, members of the Ottawa Silver Seven felt it necessary to see if one could kick the Cup into Ottawa's Rideau Canal. One of them lined it up and gave it a boot, drop-kick style. In a true test of his accuracy and distance, the Cup landed on target, in the canal. That established, the boys went on their merry way, and the Cup stayed in the Canal until the next day when sober heads prevailed and Lord Stanley's mug was rescued. It was then placed in the capable hands of Harry Smith, a Silver Seven member. I can't find out which of "The Silver Seven" in the photo is Harry, but I'll bet its the handsome one!

Our Harry Smith is attempting to update The Coach Groves Memorial Cup, ala The Stanley Cup. We too need more room for the names of upcoming Champions! And there are no canals anywhere near Harry's home. Update: There is a pond right behind Harry's house! Keep him away from the liquor!

In addition: All photos on this site can be used for your own personal viewing. You can even download some of them and print a copy. It is not permissible to use any of them in any other way, including disseminating them yourself on the internet. All intellectual content (as it is!) on this site is my property, just ask me if you want to use it, I'm really a good guy at heart. I have had to ban a reader for the use of content of this site for nefarious purposes without my permission. Even cost me some money, the scum. Any content on this site that doesn't meet your expectations or wishes, just let me know. I will consider changing or eliminating it. I wish to keep this a PG site that gives a slight chuckle occasionally and keeps us all informed about The Coach Groves Golf Tourney and Scholarship efforts. (Don't forget to give a little to the effort, you'll just waste it on your 201K anyway!)*

*Linking of our current financial woes to the current political scene is not intended by blog officers. Barney Frank has never run a step in his life and probably can't golf.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Self-Indulgent Essay/A Thousand Little Deaths

I have virtually no writing ability, as anyone knows who has read anything I've written on this web site. I usually cannot get an idea in my head to written prose adequately. The only "A" I ever got was on a paper was one I wrote while buzzed on 2 Guinness Stouts coming back from an indoor meet at Cornell or Syracuse in my Sophomore year. (Don Ziter can verify this for everyone!) I wrote the theme on loose leaf notebook paper with pencil, without punctuation and in two peoples mind-sets at the same time. I guess I can say I winged it, so here comes another one...

After the recent Penn State National XC Meet, it was announced that in the near future, the PSU XC team will no longer run on the Blue/White Golf Courses. Apparently they will soon have their own dedicated XC Course. When I first heard this, I was saddened and didn't realize why. It has gradually come to me that this is just the latest piece of PSU Track/XC history that will be lost. Maybe I am just being overly dramatic, but I feel that a little piece of me will die the day they no longer can run tee-to-greens on Wednesday, or a 10K on Saturday on the Blue Course. A little spot inside will wither when Coach can no longer drive the van over to the next mile marker with JB dutifully writing down splits. (A big hunk of me will hurt when I realize that no future high school runner will get 5th place at States on the 3 mile Blue Course even though he was 7th in Districts and was running with a stress fracture.) No college stud will have to contend with all the tree roots at the same time he's trying to outduel Nick Rose or Craig Virgin and a hill at the same time.

I have a feeling a piece of all of us will die that day. Many may not even know it. It may be just a brief feeling of unease or a moment of dyspepsia after eating a heavy meal. But I think it will happen to everyone who ever ran on PSU's Golf Courses. I suppose some business geeks can prove how much money they will save by kicking us off the courses. Another set of business types will be able to justify the expense of making a new course. I have seen what manufactured XC courses look like (World XC in the Meadowlands with spectators sitting in the stands of the horse racing track!) and I don't like it. The course Coach Groves made for the 1975 NCAA Championships was as close to ideal as any I have ever seen. He called it "My masterpiece" because it was a difficult but fair course. I will hate to see it go. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I doubt it. I know there is nothing to be done to fight PSU's progress in this regard, but I don't have to like it. I'm glad we're golfing at The Elks Club again this year!

Feel free to disagree.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Preparations Continue:

Preparations are well advanced for the 2009 Harry Groves Memorial Golf Tournament. (Remember, it is not about the golf!) Special room rates are in place for our official Hotel, The Hampton Inn. You can book your room right from our site and save $45/night! You still have time to reserve your spot in the tourney at 20% off last year's price. Hurry before 12/31/08, that's when the rates go up. Remember, the Hampton Inn is where the Friday get-together is, as well as the pre-golf lunch. The Shisler's Shindig (Post-tournament awards ceremony) is included with the entry and should be an especially great time this year. Maps will be available to guide all through the Arctic tundra and past all the polar bears, caribou and oil pipelines. Tours of the All-Sports Museum and The Berkey Creamery are on the agenda for those not golfing. Goodie bags for all golfers and special prizes for all children are on tap for this year's crowd. For those returning golfers from previous years, keep in mind the raffle of gas cards for those enticing new golfers (victims?) to our fold. Also, don't forget, the half price special for the first sign-ups from the 50's, 60's, 90's, and 00's is still available. We are also 1/3 of the way toward offering a $10,000 prize for a hole-in-one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Penn State National XC Meet and Alumni Gathering

In addition to the PSU/Michigan football game this weekend, the Penn State National XC meet will be held at the Blue/White course. This will be the last meet before the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor. It is also an alumni gathering with several PSU Track Alumni Golfers attending. Alas, I cannot go, but operatives of the blog will be in force. Steve Balkey will be running on the alumni team and subsequently attempting to recruit some of the younger alums to our fold.Tim Backenstose will also be there, hopefully with a digital camera to capture some pics, (maybe even some mpeg4 video?). Let's hope Tim also takes the time to hit a few balls at the driving range, we are in need of "B" and "C" golfers to balance my"D" status.

Update: Both the mens and womens teams placed 2nd at the meet. The men had their strongest performance to date, finishing ahead of Villanova and just behind Georgetown. Redshirt freshman Kyle Dawson finished in 5th place in his first meet of the season. The alumni team placed 22nd with a gutsy performance from Chris Foster, Joel Moceri, Sean Kennedy, Patrick Murphy, and Jake Bartholomy. Ken Cooper, Matt Lincoln, Todd Kletter, Steve Balkey and Bob Radzewich gamely ran the 8k in addition. Good to see Balkey can still lace them up, at least off the ice or the links!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Groupers, not Groupies!

Don Ziter has taken the bait, so to speak. He has offered 2 Cajun Grouper sandwiches from Frenchy's of Clearwater Beach as a friendly wager in my upcoming World Series gastromania festival.* He is also hedging his bets and offering some "wicked" Quahog Chowdaa in case Boston performs another miracle. Anyone wishing to participate in this "highly illegal" (a Caddyshack reference, for those of you from Pittsburgh!) gambling enterprise, use the comment section below to offer your best culinary delight for all to enjoy. Click on the title to this post to be magically directed to the web site of Don's favorite haunt.

And so, Groupers it is!

*Gambling is highly illegal and leads to other vices your grandmother would not like. Blog officers agree with your grandmother.

Phillies Vs. Rays? / Cheesesteaks vs. ??

Since Don Ziter lives in both cities that may represent the American League in the World Series, I have decided to offer a friendly wager.* I have offered two Cheesesteaks by overnight delivery for whatever Boston or Tampa can put up. My favorite, Jim's Steak's on South St., no longer has a web site (it is a poker/porn site now!) , so it will have to be the classic Pat's or Geno's of South Philadelphia. Click on the title to this post to be taken to South Philly's Cheese Wiz Nirvana of Geno's Steaks. (Make sure you speak English there!) That will be two wiz with, by bird. (For those Pittsburghers out there, that's two thinly sliced top round steak sandwiches with cheese wiz and fried onions on an Amaroso's roll, delivered.) If the unlikely happens and LA wins the series, I'll overnight two bacon-wrapped hot dogs instead, a LA street-vendor favorite.

Don doesn't like bacon dogs anyway!


*Gambling is frowned upon by blog administrators. Only gamble with money that the government will take anyway. Which soon will be all of it.**

**arbitrary political statements are frowned upon by blog officers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hampton Inn Again Selected as Official Hotel of PSU Track Alumni Golf:

The Hampton Inn has again been selected as the official Hotel of Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf. A room rate of $94 a night for 5/29/09 and 5/30/09 has been set for this year's Tourney, only a $5 increase in the past two years! Remember, The Hampton Inn is part of the Hilton Hotel Chain and offers an excellent frequent stay program. The hotel has been updated and offers full wireless internet, spacious rooms with great beds and an excellent complementary hot breakfast. The special reservation code is "PST" to receive the special rate ($139/night normally). (814) 231-1590. A special web page is being set up also (ready now!). You are now able to book your room right from this site!

John Gondak, Asst. Coach of PSU, relates we are in competition with the volleyball teams again this year. The volleyball tourney gets bigger every year, so get your reservation in early.

Future Golfer Announced!

Artist's Conception*

Brandon Edgar Haley entered the world on Wednesday, October 8. He weighed in at 9 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 22 inches long. (My daughter didn't weigh that much until nearly two years old!) Brandon and Michelle are doing well, Clark not so much. These things can be tough on elderly men.

PSU is always looking for potential linebackers and shot-putters, Brandon seems destined for greatness.

Friday, October 10, 2008

PSU Track Alumni Outreach Heads to Europe!

Jeff Sanden, fresh off his recent trips to Las Vegas and Toronto, will head to Bucharest, Romania (I'm an idiot!) next week, hoping to expand PSU Track Alumni tentacles in Europe. He hopes to run into Gabriella Szabo some time during his travels. (See video link below!) From all the web hits in Europe this week, Jeff sure is getting around!

Jeff will bring fresh, new "A" status golf to our humble cadre of ineptness next year.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Accolades, Accolades:

Robert E. Hillman '74, former XC captain recieved The 2008 Alumni Fellow Award at the Nittany Lion Inn this past week. Robert is co-director and research director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital. I wonder if he golfs? Greg Fredericks tells me he is too dedicated to his work to find time for golf. He does have a good sense of humor though.

And, for the fourth time in her career, Bridget Franek '09 received Athlete of the Week of the Big Ten Conference for her fifth place finish at the Bill Dellinger Meet in Oregon this past week. Maybe she will become a future PSU Track Alumni Golfer? Gosh knows we need a better looking crowd!

Also: Don't forget to pick up your set of PSU Trading Cards at Graham Spanier's next Tailgate Party!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Hockey is back!

To keep our minds off the financial crisis, and as a public service, I wish to point out that the NHL season has officially begun. Brian Laird, Steve Balkey and I are thrilled. I'm not sure about the rest of you. But it does keep your mind off your plummeting 401k (now a 101k!). And it beats watching McCain failing to keep far enough right, much like Jeff Sanden's golf game*

*arbitrary political comments not endorsed by group officers. Criticism of golf games is entirely consistent with officer's wishes.

Addendum: A pleasant "hello" from current Asst. Coach John Gondak came today. I wished him well in the upcoming conclusion to the XC season.
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