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.


  1. And Jeff came to PSU after being named the top FOOTBALL player in WV!

  2. Welcome to the big world of blogging, Rob! Now start dreaming up another post.

  3. Great story about Jeff. Jeff actually played in the 1st annual Harry Groves Tournament (or maybe it was the 2nd) Rob and I were on his team. Many great stories those 18 holes.

  4. And we'll keep bugging him until he comes back! I think I remember him at the 2006 event too.


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