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...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Financial Crisis in Terms We Can Understand

I didn't write this ; I found it on a financial blog I read. I modified it a little, though, for my own entertainment.

Dave Baskwill is the proprietor of a bar in York, Pa. In order to increase sales, he decides to allow his loyal customers - most of whom are unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. He keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger, thereby granting the customers loans.

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood into Dave's bar.

Taking advantage of his customer's freedom from immediate payment constraints, Dave increases his prices for beer and wine, the most consumed beverages. His sales volume increases dramatically.

Larry Mangan, a young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank, recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Dave's borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.

At the Bank's corporate headquarters, Gary Black, an innovative and ambitious banker, transforms these customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS, and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then traded on markets worldwide. Nobody really understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager of the bank (subsequently fired due to his negativity) decides that slowly the time has come to demand payment of the debts incurred by the drinkers at Dave's bar.

However, they cannot repay their debts.

Dave cannot fulfill his loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

The suppliers of Dave's bar, having granted him generous payment terms and having invested in the securities are faced with a dire situation. His wine supplier claims bankruptcy; his beer supplier is taken over by a competitor.

The bank is saved by the government following dramatic round-the-clock consultations by the leaders of the governing political parties.

The money required for this bail-out is obtained by a tax levied on non-drinkers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Sign-Ups! Get Yours in Now!

Bob Snyder is in here somewhere! (in 5th place) 1978 NCAA 5000 M Trials, ended up 4th (14:05) (with Henry Rono!) ( photo courtesy of Patrick Davey via Malmo.)

All-American and All-Around good guy (AND NON-GOLFER!), Bob Snyder has signed up in a big way for the Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion. I wonder if he remembers that I beat him in the first 2 races of my PSU "career"? (Relax everyone, he was injured!) His family will be making the journey to Happy Valley and participating in our family and reunion activities. Our total of sign-ups confirmed is now 23 golfers! (There are scores of others who swear they are coming or are likely to come). We will have the largest number of family members this year, and are still making efforts for more Women's Team member participation.

We are at a crucial phase in our efforts, as we need to figure out how many foursomes to book at The Elks Club Course. We only have a little lee-way from our selected number and we don't want anyone left out. If you know you are coming, but haven't signed-up yet, help us out and get your form filled out. Money isn't due to Harry Smith until 5/8/09. We are guessing at least 8 foursomes now, but we may need more if all the fence-sitters wait to the last minute. Even some who have attended nearly every year are still wandering in the ether. We would hate to tell them "Sorry, no room". The dynamics have changed, and we won't be able to accommodate late-comers as easily anymore.

These are wonderful problems to have, especially since Harry and Clark will have to do all the leg-work. I just have to herd more cats. Remember, we should have the largest and most active Track and Field Alumni group in the entire world!

The List of confirmed golfers and attendees is astounding in its diversity and lack of golfing talent! They include: Harry Groves, Harry Smith, Campbell Lovett, Dave Spears, Paul Souza, Paul Mundy, Paul McLaughlin, Gary Black, Mike McCahill, Nick Kello, Steve Shisler, Beth Shisler, Don Ziter, Lynne Ziter, Steve Balkey, Jeff Sanden, Clark Haley, Rob Whiteside, Bill Malchano, Debbie Malchano, Tim Backenstose and David Baskwill.

Join us today!

Amateur Journalism and Golden Dreams Dashed

I'm off tomorrow for State College to report on the Men's Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. I'll cover the tough human interest stories no one else dares to. Like "How did Brian Boyer's lecture go on Thursday?" And "Did you run this morning or just eat breakfast at The Waffle Shop?" I'll try to run down some of the 90's and 00's guys and twist their arms to hit the links with us in May. I'll even have a Microsoft-style display at the Reunion at Damon's on Saturday night. I'll hand out magnets, decals, business cards, stickers, photos and more. I'll even have advance copies of our technology-rich t-shirts, ironed by metrosexual Gary Black for those who sign-up or donate to our cause.*

In other news, the "Horace" golden putter will have to wait for next year. The manufacturer is out of business, probably due to the high cost and demand for gold, not the current 4th worst recession since 1970.** We will be substituting Gary's "Billy Berue" this year, a worthy substitute!

*All proceeds are destined for the Harry Groves Endowment. Our CFO and Hammer Throwers will protect us from any financial malfeasance.

** Political statements are downright stupid in these times of Constitutional and Bill of Rights Assaults.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Physics Lessons and The Dark Side:

Disappointment and sadness have engulfed me as I realize that PSU Track Alums have only a remedial understanding of the fundamental science of our universe.

Only three (out of 15!) respondents picked the correct answer to my question about the metal square with the hole cut out. One correct answer came from Gary Black, who is the only person I know who would remember an actual physics class from 1978 where the topic was discussed. Another correct answer came from my partner Dr. Stacie Gill, proving once and for all that "podiatrists is smart fur shure". The last correct answer came from an actual physicist, I'm pretty sure.

As the metal is heated and expands, the hole also gets larger (see yes diagram). Most answered that it would get smaller. One answered it would stay the same, and the rest copped out and claimed this has nothing to do with track or golf! Imagine that!

Addendum: Inquiries and interest in The Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament are at unprecedented levels. (Seriously, I'm not joking.) Olympians, All-Americans, scholarship athletes and walk-ons like me are debating whether to make the leap. There is still a palpable fear of the golf, however, from a sizable contingent of us. Relax, join us on the dark side,( it is actually only a little bit in the shade anyway). You can handle it, go ahead and sign up. You know you want to!
Give in, let the fear swallow you, and emerge on the other side stuck in a sand trap! You'll be glad you did.

Randy Moore has likened my job of recruiting participation from fellow PSU track alums to "Herding Cats" which seems about right. Hence, lets add this great Super bowl ad from several years ago! Brought to us by our nerdy friends at EDS and Spike TV.

Monday, February 23, 2009

For Those Who Can't Make the Reunion

Send Coach a greeting to be printed on a poster for display at our reunion. Let Coach know you care! (though not enough to come!) Let the rest of laugh at your bawdy (but not vulgar) entries or just generally make fun of you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Greatest Track Coach in the World

When thanking the crowd at his Retirement Party in 2006, Coach Groves related that "according to all the nice things said about him that night" that he was for a brief time "The Greatest Track Coach in the World". And he looks spiffy in a uniform and hat!

There is still time to join us at The Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion! You may even be able to join Coach's foursome by bribing me or Clark Haley with a little something on the side.*

*Just kidding, results may vary!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Respond or I'll Talk About My Pets!

Gary Black's Husky "Cid"

Everybody likes to show off their pets! (Don't they?) Send me some photos of your pets for a slide show of PSU Track Alumni Golf Animals. Also any good quotes from former teammates or Coach Groves himself! Stories are even better, but I realize that may be pushing it! Everyone knows I have enough animals to bore you all to tears, so send me yours. ( dfbaskwill@cs.com)

The "Non-American" American Record

This is the last in our series of Mike Sands videos from Coach Groves' Retirement Party. How can you run an American Record with a Bahamian?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mike Sands Talks About His "Dad"

Another blast from Coach Groves' Retirement Party. Mike Sands explains how Coach Groves became his father.

Addendum: The t-shirts are in their final production stages at Gary Black's House. Only a metrosexual like Gary has the proper ironing equipment. A preliminary chance to obtain a shirt will be available at the alumni get-together at Damon's on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 7:00PM. RSVP to Jess Riden at jnr126@psu.edu to attend.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines Day Makes Life Difficult

Are you prepared? What to give? Does a pair of Nike Air Court Shoes sound OK? All men have no idea what to do at this time of year. We usually rely on whatever is next to the check-out at Wal Mart or to the whims of someone we know at work. This year I'm getting a gift certificate to Lowe's so Barb can finish our Penn State themed bathroom, (yeah, I know!).

Another good gift would be a weekend at PSU accompanying you at the Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion! Those not golfing will be able to attend the All-Sports Museum and the Berkey Creamery while us idiots golf. And we will love to see your family at our reunion evening on Friday night and at The Shisler's Shindig on Saturday. All women alums are encouraged to come to our event, God knows we need better scenery (except for Beth!). Coach Groves made a specific request to get women involved. I guess he realizes its the only way to keep the rest of us behaving well. (And yes, we are behaving well!)

And as a service to all, here's a good cover of Mike Sand's song to Coach Groves. "Your Daddy Ain't Your Daddy, but Your Daddy Don't Know" is now the Official Song of PSU Track Alumni Golf.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Several years ago, a fellow named Lionel Tiger, who taught anthropology at Rutgers, wrote a book he titled The Decline of Males. Later on, Harvey Mansfield, a Harvard professor, followed up with a book called Manliness. I didn't read either book, but I can bullcrit a little about them. Both authors assert that American culture has feminized men and in Tiger's words "... as women play a larger role in public life, men are Looking for new ways to be male". Mansfield argues that it is time for men to rediscover, and women to appreciate, the virtue of manliness.

I remembered these books after talking to Jeff Adkins recently. Jeff turned 48 last month (that's him pictured above running in the 2006 Golden Gate Park cross-country championships) and I called to say happy birthday and to catch up.

It turns out that even 25 years of living in California hasn't turned Jeff into a sissy.

A couple of years ago he decided to get back into racing shape and signed up to compete in the 2006 National Masters Track & Field Championships held, that year, in Charlotte, NC. Over four days he raced three times placing 1st in the 5K (16:26:32), 1st in the 10K (34:25:59) and 5th in the 1500M (4:27:58). The Charlotte Fire Department actually shut down the meet one day that weekend because temps reached nearly 100 degrees with 95% humidity.

Over the past couple of years he's continued to compete, winning the Masters division of the Pacific Association of USA Track and Field Cross Country Series, placing 2nd in the 2008 National Masters Track & Field 10K held in Spokane, WA, and setting PR's (masters) in the mile (4:35), the 5K (15:54), and the 10K (33:01).

If some of our younger readers are yawning at those times, well, come back and see me in 25 years. You older guys know what I mean. I remember Coach Groves would sometimes run our Sunday morning mountain runs with us---he must have been 50 or so. I didn't think much about it then but now, looking back, it seems pretty manly.

Maybe the decline of the American male is over-exaggerated.

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