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...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, Roger

Happy 80th Birthday Roger Bannister! I actually spoke by phone with Sir Roger many years ago while in Podiatry School. We called him out of the blue to ask him for any of his shoes for our shoe museum. He unfortunately had given away his last pair of spikes the week before!

Mr. Bannister has just started running again recently, (or shuffling as he calls it). He had been unable to do so since a traffic accident in his 40's which fractured his heel. Recently, he discovered some shoes from Kenya made from automobile tyres (as the Brits love to call them) that have allowed him to resume twice weekly runs. You pansies have no excuses!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Krispy Kreme Challenge 2009

Only the good folks in North Carolina can come up with this horrible torture. The Krispy Kreme Challenge involves running two miles to a Krispy Kreme, eating A DOZEN Donuts, and then returning the two miles back to the start. 5,500 runners braved the challenge, with many actually attempting to win, the rest wearing goofy suits and performing the usual craziness runners gravitate to.

This years winner, Eric Mack of Raleigh NC, ran the first two miles in 10:55, ate a dozen donuts in 5:07, and ran the last two miles in 12:10. He didn't throw up, although a large percentage of the challengers do. Many garbage cans line the route, and I'm glad my front yard doesn't abut the course!

Addendum: The list just keeps growing! John Barber, fellow runner, Coach's right-hand man and all-around good guy, just signed up for the tourney.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Find Your Way Home: Come to Happy Valley

For those of you who are not quite sure whether they want to come to the reunion or not, I have included a little video montage to help make your choice. Don't just be wasted, find your way home...

Keeping Up with PSU Track Alum Golfers on Facebook

There might not be any way to keep up with Carl Wolter. And maybe no one would want to keep up with Brian Boyer, since that's him visiting Chernobyl.

Carl Wolter may be our only PSU Track Alum that is a Golf Professional. He makes a living by hitting a golf ball very far. And I do mean very far. So far that I can't even fathom making a comparison between what I do 3 or 4 times a year to what he's able to do. Carl holds the record for the greatest margin of victory at the World Long Drive Championships. He has hit a ball 451 yards in competition and 542 yards on a par 5 hole! (I often use "cheater" golf balls to get that extra 5 yards to make it to the fairway!) Beth Shisler is hoping he doesn't show up at our tourney to steal "Mike" the silver divot tool( and silver tee) from her. (Are you coming Carl?)

Brian Boyer has traveled the world as part of the IAEA inspection team, and now finds himself in Los Alamos, New Mexico. My fascination with physicists gets a little relief talking with Brian on occasion, as Los Alamos was the home of my hero, Richard Feynman, when he was working on The Bomb. Maybe Brian could bring me one of those Feynman T-shirts as a swap with our PSU Track Alumni Golf T-shirt (which is provided gratis by me to those attending our reunion!). * ( If Brian can make it from New Mexico, you lazy bums from Philly, Ohio, New Jersey and Harrisburg better make an effort!) Addendum: Lazy bum Mark Haywood finally signed up! That leaves Philly, New Jersey and Ohio (and you know who you are!)

*Let's not hype the shirts too much; I'm making them up on the cheap and my "final assembly" is not being done by the professionals in China, but by Gary Black in Virginia! The quality of the shirts will at least match the quality of my writing on this blog!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One Legged

This story reminded me of that tough, one-legged guy who used to run with crutches out on the golf course. I can't even manage to get my sorry, two-legged ass moving enough to lose ten pounds.


Prizes and More Prizes! Gold and Silver, no bronze!

In addition to "Horace" the golden putter, we have now added two additional rotating prizes. "Mike" the silver divot tool and "Barney" the golden divot tool! Each will be engraved with the letters PSU, (couldn't think of anything else!) These, of course honor PSU Olympic medal winners, Horace Ashenfelter III, Mike Shine, and Barney Ewell.

Rotating Prizes means the winner will have to return the award at the next year's event, or pay for the return shipping and insurance, thus insuring at least 3 golfers each year! They will also have to supply periodic updates as to the whereabouts of each of them with photos and stories detailing their exploits. A lot like a travel gnome, but less sissy (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

The longest putt on the 18th green receives the golden putter for 1 year. ( Mini Golf would be a great way to keep "Horace" active.) The longest drive (ahem, Beth Shisler, this means you!) will get the silver divot tool and a silver tee to keep as a cherished heirloom. The closest to the pin on hole number 2 at the Elks Club (the short 80 yard hole not eligible for the hole-in-one prizes) will acquire the use of the golden divot tool for the year and a golden tee to keep as a memento. Even hackers like me occasionally luck into one of these. I once won a closest to the pin in our event and also at another tourney at my residency graduation. (Saw a hole-in-one at the same tourney!)

Addendum: Bill Sheskey '78 and his brother John Sheskey '66 signed up for the tourney bringing much needed golfing skills to our motley crew. John is an architect (to the admiration of George Costanza) and Bill is flying in from South Carolina! Good luck on getting your name on the Coach Groves Memorial Cup.*

* Coach Groves is very much alive, despite the name on The Cup, and still able to kick your ass. Now get to class on time and close the window!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Conservation of Energy: "It's Simple" says Administration

All our energy problems will soon be solved. No more polluting automobiles, no more need for all those high paying jobs drilling for oil and mining for coal. This is a mock-up of the next generation of American automobile. "The windmill car" will begin production as soon as Congress passes the law to take the rest of your money. * Obama will call a press conference on the next new "South Park" episode or "Larry King Live" to unveil the masterpiece first envisioned by the fortunate amalgam of Greenpeace and Special Olympics.

In other Physics news, Cold Fusion is again right around the corner! Actual neutrons were discovered by the process at ordinary room temperature. "This time, its possibly for real!" say Navy scientists with virtually no clue and funding from the same sources as "Creationist Science" and "Bigfoot Research". Lets get behind them this time. I think its for real this time too, not like those other times we've been scammed and disappointed. Cold fusion will be able to power all our jet-packs, flying cars and laser weapons we have sitting around! Perpetual motion has nothing on cold fusion.

* Making fun of the current Congress and Administration is downright stupid, but oh so simple.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Round and Round a Square Track and a Bar Fight Breaks Out!

Congratulations readers! We finally got a quiz question correct. It was 6.85 laps to the mile at dear old venerable Rec Hall. I will point out however that more people answered incorrectly than correctly, but 6.85 was the most popular answer. Sort of like when more people voted against Bill Clinton than for him, but it was still a win for him anyway, not necessarily for the country.* We will return to Physics questions soon, so get your thinking caps ready.

Rec Hall always stirs great memories. Sometimes they are not good, but memories none-the-less. We began running indoors at the Ice Palace the year Dick Harter (before he dicks you!) became the basketball coach. In addition to scandals with cheerleaders, he introduced "closed practices" to the venue. Even my wife was outraged at this affront to "real athletes". She cursed a blue streak at some poor rent-a-cop while stretching one day before practice. I wish we still ran at Rec Hall that year just to see the fight between Harter and Coach Groves over kicking us out! My bet is always with Coach in matters like this. A true measure of a man is which side do you want him on if a bar fight breaks out, yours or the other. I always want Coach on my side. Wiry and wily always wins a good bar fight.

I also heard from the elusive Kevin Kelly O'Brien yesterday. We reminisced about his 150 mile week in March 1978, to which Coach just cursed and questioned his sanity. Turns out Coach was right again, Kelly was injured shortly after! (I didn't know that part of the equation.) 150 miles in one week would be 1,027.5 laps at Rec Hall. I shall endeavor to persevere in convincing him to come to our reunion. Good News: Kelly is in for the reunion

And Happy Birthday to Larry Mangan! The 11th anniversary of his 39th birthday!

* Political commentary is cute and all, but virtually no one shares the same opinion. Blog officers accept no responsibility for any bar fights breaking out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

All in the Family: A Great Performance

Len Black may not have run for PSU, but he built the foundation for several other PSU Track Alums. After winning the PA State High School Mile in 1949, Len attended The University of Penn on scholarship and quickly became their best runner under Head Coach Ken Doherty and Assistant Coach Boo Morcom. He also won the first Gil Dodds Boardwalk Mile on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Len never finished at Penn and following a stint in the Navy, graduated from Dear Old State in 1957. His reminisces of training in those days make his times and accomplishments seem extraordinary. His training consisted mainly of walking to and from the train and school. Also note the bizarre surface of the Penn track in the photo on the bottom! I'll get the blog laureate working on that.

When Gary Black won the PA State High School Mile in 1978, he may have completed the first father/son combo to have done so. Barb Black and Steve Black also competed for the Nittany Lions. Len's Great Performance was for not throttling me when I announced Barb's and my engagement while in State College staying at the Autoport for a Winter Sports weekend in 1987!

Addendum: Brian Boyer, the Bridge between all decades has officially entered the Golf Tourney in his bid to become Official Physicist of PSU Track Alumni Golf! Ron Moore is still in the running to become Co-Official Physicist if he dares the trip from the Fermi Lab!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Time of Our Lives

As promised many moons ago, here's PSU Track Alumni Golfer and Velveteen Playboy Paul Souza in a video performing alternative rock/lounge music live at The Orpheum Theatre. Check out the web site for his upcoming tour dates this summer. If he can't golf this year due to the tour, we'll let him off the hook. His performance is 7' 4.25" out of 8', and I like the beat!


Velveteen Playboys-Time Of Our Lives

Preparations Continue For Coach Groves Tourney

Officers are hard at work on the final preparations for the 8th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney, the preeminent event hosted by Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf.

Harry Smith, Keeper of the Cup, is finalizing the additions to The Harry Groves Memorial Cup, making it able to handle the esteemed names of many future champions. Clark Haley, Keeper of the Beer, has confirmed the reservations for 10 tee-times, the most in the history of our event. Let's see if we can strain the good folks at The Elks Club by needing more! Gary Black, Director of Corporate Espionage, is readying his books to prove the rest of us officers absconded with none of the funds, (We wish!) And here I am, continuing to make stuff up and not really doing any work. (I wish!)

Family activities for non-golfers are being finalized, with some alternatives being offered. A trip to the All-Sports Museum, the Berkey Creamery and possibly a picnic lunch atop Mt. Nittany for the adventurous are just some of the ideas bandied about by Family Activity Facilitators. Families are not only welcomed to our event, they are requested by the inspiration to the whole thing, Coach Groves himself. Make sure they all stop by to say "Hello" to Coach at the reunion evening.

And the last piece of preparedness necessary is.... the foil. (hat-tip to Artie Gilkes)

Addendum: Us old-timers were bolstered today by the addition of Jim Clelland to our throng of poor golfers. The younger crowd still fears us, however. No one can figure out why! And lets welcome back Coach Bill Whittaker. He'll even golf all the holes this year! Lets see... he's an early 70's PSU Track alum, a former PSU decathlon record-holder, a member of The Elks Club and a heck of a good golfer! That means he's eligible to be an "A" golfer in our group!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All You Need to Know About Bailouts!

The guvment, (who negotiated everything about the bailout of AIG and owns just short of 80% of it), will now require that it pay back the $165, 000,000 in bonuses it has already paid employees who were necessary to clean up the mess, (and also caused it!). The guvment is then paying us taxpayers back by taking less of our money to replace the money we gave them that they already handed out in bonuses? Isn't this the kind of accounting that created problems in the first place?

People should already be in jail for this, but we need the Congressmen and Senators too much now to actually get rid of them!***

***Views expressed, although accurate, do not necessarily reflect the views of blog officers. And don't get me started on The War on Man-Caused Disasters, formerly known as terrorism.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Erin Go Bragh

Happy St. Patrick's (NOT State Patrick's) Day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hole-in-one Madness!

Yeah, its possible. This lady proved it recently in a big way. In the very first shot of her life, she hit a hole-in-one! Give it a go, even if you haven't golfed much, or ever. Only the 2nd hole at the Elks Club doesn't have a hole-in-one prize and we'll probably make it the "Closest to the Pin" hole anyway because of that.

With the statistical wizardry of our blog laureate, and the largest survey of hole-in-one odds, the current probability of somebody in our motley group scoring an ace is (40*4)/12,500 or 1 in 78! The least they would win is a new set of clubs, and $10,000 would just about make up for your loss in your 401k (for those of you in your early 30's, anyway!)

Hat tip to Wizbang!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Championship Week

A second and two-third place finishes topped the indoor season for PSU at the NCAA Meet. The Women placed 7th overall, first among the Big Ten.
Gayle Hunter set a school record in the Pentathlon with 4342 points. Ryan Fritz placed third in the high jump to lead the Men.

Others garnering All-American Honors included Bridgit Franek in the 5000 M, and the Women's 4 X 400 M Relay squad with Fawn Dorr, Aleesha Barber, Shavon Greaves and Gayle Hunter. The Men's Distance Medley quartet just missed 8th place by less than 2/10ths of a second.

In the USATF 15 K Championships, James Carney placed 10th in 44:13 and honorary PSU Track Alum Golfer Rebecca Donaghue placed 8th in 51:05.

Addendum: Odds for a hole-in-one at our tourney have been figured at (40 X 4/12,750) or 1 in 78. Good luck, and you can't win if you don't play!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The "Younger" Crowd Trickles In and "Horace" is Coming After All

We are starting to get inquiries and actual sign-ups from the "younger" crowd, which should help the scores this year. Ben Karcz, PSU 500 and 600 meter record holder, will tee them up with the likes of the rest of us. We also have three women team members so far signed up for the reunion and three wives golfing with us. Welcome one and all!

And "Horace" will be coming after all. The same wonderful folks who have set up our hole-in-one prizes have set us up with a golden putter engraved with "PSU Track Alumni". This will be a rotating prize for the longest putt on the 18th green. Horrible golfers like me will always putt first, so one of us could snag the golden putter 's use for a whole year! The winner will be required to bring it back for the next year's event and supply us with periodic photos from its travels to golf courses and mini golf courses around the globe. (Or ship it back to me for more than it would cost to come!) The 18th green will also be the sight of the grand prize $10,000 for a hole-in-one. That means you can't win both! What a shame. The best part is that none of us paid for it. I used a debit card I obtained for filling out a drug company's questionnaire about a new medical device.

Mr. Horace Ashenfelter III has been invited but I have not heard back yet. Anyone seeing this that could contact him, please pass the word on. He would be an honored guest for sure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Brain Hurts, Coverage at 11PM

Its getting ridiculously close to Spring now. It was actually 66 degrees in State College last week, a temperature usually only reached the weekend after July 4. ( Winter rules are in effect in State College all but that weekend according to Coach Groves' adaptation of the Queensbury Rules.) Greg Fredericks actually ran in shorts and a t-shirt, but not an official "Penn State Track Alumni Golf" or "PSU is 800 U" t-shirt you can obtain by coming to our Reunion and/or Golf Outing.

Our little outing has reached the big-time for sure. The AP in New York will send a representative to cover our event! Former PSU Trackster and Collegian Editor Paula Froke will travel to State College for the reunion and hopefully obtain more Coach Groves quotes to keep our little blog fresh.

And my brain hurts, so I've added a Suggestion Box to give me ideas or allow disgruntled readers a chance to vent.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Truly "Amazing Race" and a Personal Diversion

Penn State set a school record in the Distance Medley Relay over the weekend at the Notre Dame Last Chance Weekend Meet. This was a rather crazy race, as PSU placed 14th in the race despite 4 great relay splits! Fifteen teams made the Automatic NCAA Qualifier! The splits:

  1. Sam Borchers 2:54 - 1200 M
  2. Mike Cadau 46.7 - 400 M
  3. Ryan "The Tasmanian Devil" Foster 1:49.0 800 M
  4. Tim Johnson 4:02 1600 M ( 4 or 5 ran sub-4 miles)

And in her first foray into the competitive world, after just a few group lessons, my daughter Anne entered the Keystone Games Figure Skating Championships. I'm doomed! Between Obama and Ice Skating Lessons, I'll have $0.33 cents a week to eat.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Stimulus Package That Will Work!!

After consultation with the brain trust of PSU Track Alumni Golf, (as it is), and after deliberation and thoughtful contemplation, a Hole-in-one Prize Package has been arranged for the 8th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion. This package was purchased with the benevolence and contributions of several anonymous fellow alums. We can all thank them, OR join them, later.

This will not affect the $701 so far donated to our cause and will not affect the fees for this year's or future year's events. We hope it will attract even more golfers this year, and again in future years, especially if one of us duffers actually lucks into a windfall.

The 6th hole will feature a new set of golf clubs for the first (yeah, the second one won't count!) hole-in-one. The 9th hole will have a prize of a three-day cruise for 2. The 10th hole will net the lucky golfer a $2000 golf vacation for 2. And the ultimate prize will be on the 18th hole. The lucky hacker putting the ball in the hole from the tee will earn $10,000. The 18th will also be the hole hosting "The Horace" golden Putter for the longest putt. (Gary Black's "Billy Berue" will be substituting for the golden putter this year due to the manufacturer going out of business.) I will make sure there is some gold on Billy, however. Not sure exactly what yet.

Pass the word on, we would love having someone win. Professionals not allowed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Physics Phun: Stay Safe Ron Moore!

A bullet to the head will most of the time cause instant death. But what about a beam from a particle accelerator traveling at slightly below the speed of light? This poor guy found out the hard way when he stuck his head into a malfunctioning particle accelerator in the former Soviet Union. When Soviet things malfunction, they do it in style! Think of what lawyers would have done with this in the States. If it happened today, the lawsuit would have to be for quadrillions of dollars, since the government has jumped the shark on trillions by now!

INCREDIBLE UPDATE: We are at 30 golfers, with 20 more on the hook (and you know who you are!). Don't let this opportunity slip by without joining us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Performances: A Gutsy Half-Mile

The highlight of the Mens Big Ten Championships for the third-place Nittany Lions was the stellar performances in the 800 meters. (Someone stated PSU is 800 U!)

Ryan Foster took the lead early and held on for the victory in impressive fashion. Owen Dawson provided even more excitement by charging from 5th to second in the final 100 meters. (Upon watching a replay, I notice he was never that far back. Sorry for the error.) It was the most exciting race I've seen in a long time. The resultant 18 points vaulted PSU into third place, where they would remain for their best Big Ten finish to date. With the current youth and talent on the team, and the increasing backing of washed-up alums like me (washed-up may only apply to me!), PSU has a bright Track future. Congrats to Ryan, Owen and the entire team on a fine performance.

And.... Let's not forget to include important news of the day! The secret of belly button lint has been solved by scientists! Maybe not by physicists, but by their low class cousins, chemists.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Physics Promises Us a Time Machine

But then again, they said we would all have flying cars and ray guns by now! Here's a pic of PSU Track Alumni Golfers Brian Boyer and Steve Balkey at the Reunion One Mile Run and 4 X 440 yd. Relay on Saturday. Brian chugged a 6:30 mile in the cold and gamely ran a leg in the relay to thunderous applause. Well, I clapped anyway. Steve ran a 6:00 mile AND had just come from a hockey game where he "dropped the gloves" again. Hockey and Running are the 2 greatest sports!

Brian is in for the Golf Tourney! He will arrange a lecture that week and layover for the Tourney. His lecture on IAEA Inspections Thursday went well except for the snickers when he referred to the phrase "materials unaccounted for" by its acronym MUF. (Hehehe, Beavis, he said Muff.) There's no accounting for undergrads, even physics ones. Brian unveiled his Richard Feynman T-shirt for me. I'll have to visit him in Los Alamos to get one of those!

Steve had his wife and son at the meet on Sunday, as he gave out the awards to the Milers. He had to keep the 2nd an 3rd place finishers separated or they would have come to blows. It was good to hear his son tell me that he is running AND playing hockey, just like his dad! I'm not sure Mom was as thrilled. That's Steve's 12 year-old son Seth giving a thumbs up with The Lion, along with Gary Black and Larry Mangan's son Anthony at the meet on Sunday.

Seeing everyone there was as close to a time machine as we are likely to get. The Golf Outing will be even better, as the numbers continue to climb. Don't miss out on a chance to reminisce with old friends, renew old rivalries and possibly get arrested downtown if you dare to venture out with the "Young Crowd".

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meshing of the Old and the New!

Unfortunately, I'm the Old, not the New. My attempt at a comeback in the mile ended after 880 yards when I realized I would soon be lapped! Ken Cooper's band of Merry Men ran a mile and a 4 X 440 yd relay, as they do several times a year. This time, it was at the Outdoor Track due to Big Ten rules prohibiting any of us from stepping on the Indoor one. It was the first time I ever remember the wind hitting us down the home stretch, although others felt it in every direction. There were some impressive times considering that State Patrick Day was being celebrated all weekend. Arrests were up this year, but lists of the arrests are not yet available. I'll cross my fingers. The most impressive time was handed in by Gary Black in his comeback debut from bilateral hip replacement, 7:10, only 10 seconds off the facetious time I had said he would run when I figured he would actually die from the surgery! Ken Cooper and the gang were said to be planning a run at the Switchbacks behind Skimont Sunday morning, although I have no confirmation it actually happened. I still don't know whether I convinced any of them to golf, but I tried.

Addendum: Bob Radzwich, Chris McGinnis and Mark Wimmer managed to run the Switchbacks on Sunday earning them an honorable mention for "Great Performances". (Only missed by a whisker because they haven't golfed with us yet!)

The Big Ten Indoor Men's Track Championships were a huge success for Penn State. The team placed Third for the best finish ever, and the alumni presence was felt at unprecedented levels. Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf was introduced to the current team and the large alumni crowd to a rousing applause. Well, some people clapped anyway. I barely made a fool of myself and kept my insanity hidden quite well. I am encouraged that PSU Track has some wonderful times ahead. I had worried that attempting to unite the current team to the past teams would prove to be difficult. But by what I witnessed, we are in for a pleasant cruise indeed.

Beth Alford-Sullivan and the Assistant Coaches couldn't have been more friendly, even in the midst of a difficult to coach meet like the Big Ten Championships. Their strategy was rewarded with a second day avalanche of points highlighted by an 800 meters I won't soon forget. Congrats and thanks to the whole PSU Track Organization. We WILL have the largest and most dynamic Track and Field Alumni group in the entire world!

Coach Groves is pictured above being acknowledged before handing out some awards. Coach is in fine shape and psyched for the Golf Outing. Get your entry in, and remember, I'm taking bribes to be placed in Coach's foursome! We have had several sign-ups already from our efforts this weekend including Bob Gabel, who helped me snag my job in the PSU lab. Verbal commitments were made by Leon Woolford (a previous award-winner), Dave Rihtarchik, Brian Laird (multiple Champion), Chris Herr (name engraved on the Cup!), Rob Boulware, and Brian Boyer. Other schools may be recruiting them also, so lets hope they honor their commitments! The quest for anyone from the "lost decade" continues. Remember, the first from the nineties is half-priced!
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