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...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Entire Weekend A Booming Triumph!

For the first time, (and possibly the last!), I'll try to be serious for an entire post. I can't thank everyone enough for making the Harry Groves Golf Tourney and Reunion a resounding success this year. The response and feedback from everyone has been beyond my wildest expectations. Normally, I'm just an "idea man". Following up on my schemes and dreams is usually the weakest link of the entire plan. Luckily there are those who have the ability to implement the insane ramblings of an itinerant blogger to enhance the Track Alumni universe of Penn State.

And so, I must thank various members of our humble group. I'll forget some I know, but be assured I thank you all none-the-less. First, for the founding of our event, Clark Haley. Clark single-handedly made the whole thing up and did everything for 6 years! Next, Harry Smith has gradually taken over some of Clark's duties, and gets better and better at it each year. Steve and Beth Shisler host our buffet and awards ceremony each year, and I can't thank them enough for their hospitality. Gary Black helped me out a lot the past two years, with both monetary advice and "heavy lifting", (not to mention ironing skills). Barb Black, (some of you know her as my way-better half), took over our new non-golfers activities and concocted the ideal and unique activities which will be a springboard to including more family activities in the future. Susan Baskwill, my sister, and family friend Beth Slates were helpers, with Beth being our Official Nurse. We were prepared for any mishaps on Mt. Nittany! Anyone falling and suffering a compound fracture would have had cortisone cream and Hello Kitty band-aids right away! (Actually we were prepared for many catastrophes.) Greg Fredericks served as our Course Marshall, Hole-In-One Monitor and Golden Putter Attendant AFTER climbing Mt. Nittany at 1:00PM and organizing the team run at 8:00AM! JudyLynn Weaver became the Official Photographer and toured the course, (before being nearly decapitated by Kevin Kelly O'Brien on the 18th tee in the day's "Best Shot").

Let's not forget our corporate friends either. The Hampton Inn has been very good to us for the past 8 years. They have stepped up and set aside 30 rooms for next year's event, and I will do my best to assure we fill our allotment! Damon's was great to us for the food this year, and we recieved a 10% discount thanks to The Hampton Inn. Next year we will have a banquet room at Damon's if we get our expected number of increased participation. Rapid Transit Sports was good to us and sponsored some of the raffle prizes and awards, and is prepared to help even more next year. The Elks Club also went all-out for us, allowing extra carts all over the course for those not golfing.

And most of all, I want to thank everyone for coming, and ask that you consider coming again next year. I will go out on a limb and assure you I'll help to make it even better. If each of you entices just one other participant, we will have more than 100, now that the current team will be represented. Penn State should have the largest and most active Track and Field Alumni Group in the entire world, and you were there at the beginning!

Coming Soon: Results and Award Winners, (I'm not organized enough yet!)

Notice I wore a hat to cover the bald spot this year! I missed the putt.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reunion a Success!

A record turn-out of 50 Alumni and Coach Groves himself combined to make for an unforgettable evening at The Hampton Inn. Visits from the usual suspects was just the beginning. New faces were in preponderance and friendly visits from the Radzwich's and Artie Gilkes and Rebecca Donaghue brought youth and vitality to the rest of our geriatric gang. Conversations were held between long lost teammates from 30 years ago! The Cup was brought in by its white-gloved bearers to thunderous applause.

The complicated "picking of the foursomes' went off in fits and starts, but in the end nearly everyone was happy with the results. Coach Groves was selected as a roving ambassador, playing two holes with each of the record 9 foursomes. Competition will be intense this year as each group will vie for the next engraving on the coveted trophy.

The non-golfing activities are set as everyone will travel to the top of Mt. Nittany for lunch and then to the Creamery for some Peachy Paterno. Let's hope they save some for the Shisler's.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On My Way to Happy Valley!

I'm just about ready to head to Happy Valley, trying to get ready for the entire weekend without stressing out too much. I almost forgot to pack my clubs! When you see me, ask "What did you forget?", because I'm sure I'll not remember something. Some have asked if I'll be at the pre-event golf practice round that Steve Balkey has graciously arranged. The answer is "No", I never practice. I have only 4 good shots in me for any round (the other 100 don't matter), so I'll not waste them on a practice round, or even "loosening up" before the actual round. That is my greatest piece of advice to poor golfers everywhere. Embrace your suckiness, let it surround you, and relish in the total ineptitude to come! And you all thought my advice to poor golfers was just a joke!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Will the Weather Hold Out For Us?

The weather forecast for Saturday still looks good. There is rain in the forecast for early Friday. For you non-golfers, that is often a good thing. Generally it will make putting more like the mini-golf you are used to, minus the dinosaurs and windmills of course!

Weather forecasting was only about 80% accurate when I was a kid, but with the trillions in dollars spent on Doppler Radar and such, forecasting is now 81% accurate. So we have that going for us.

Addendum: We are dangerously close to my 1 year ago goal of 40 golfers! At least 9 full foursomes will hit the links Saturday, with nary a decent golfer among us! Coach Gondak wishes us luck on the links as he heads out to the NCAA Regionals today. He has been rewarded with a PSU is 800U t-shirt for being a friend of the group and coaching the current crop of 800 meter guys, and looks forward to golfing with us next year. We hope to include the current team, if possible, in the future.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Largesse From the Big Apple: And Viruses Run Amok

Phil Passen sends his greeting from The Big Apple. He can't make it this year, but I have him on the hook for next year. He may not realize just how bad our golfers really are! He has generously endowed our bank account with a substantial contribution and has been rewarded with t-shirts, bracelets and refrigerator magnets. Commodities must be lucrative even in a recession!

Dave Rihtarchik also expresses his regrets at not making the long drive from Volunteer Country. His dog, Topper graces the cover of our Dog Album, because he is the All-American dog, a beagle.

And Paula Froke can't make it because of work also. So our AP journalist will just have to make up a story or plagiarize something from our blog like the NYT usually does!*

Also, I was off-line for a little while there because of a bad H1N1 Computer Virus. Nasty little bugger made it through Norton 360. Took professional help to get rid of it.

*Maureen Dowd is also unavailable. Paula will be given any necessary items for production of a real story.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Set For a Great Weekend!

The weather forecast looks good for next week! We have 36 golfers signed up! There are 8 more coming who aren't golfing, but will cheer us on. There are 3 women golfing with us! Coach Groves has practiced! Spouses and kids are attending, and everyone is welcome!

The Reunion Evening kicks off at 7:00 PM at the Meeting Room at the Hampton Inn on Friday night. Either listen for the noise or ask at the Front Desk. Don't forget to enter the donation/raffle for some chances at great prizes (including PSU Track baseball hats, gift certificates at Rapid Transit, Coach Groves signed Nittany Lion Shrine photos, and more). Pizza, beverages and assorted hors doevres from Damon's will be available.

Non-Golfing Activities will commence at 12:00 PM on Saturday. We have 3 Directors of Non-Golfing Activities, Barb Black, Susan Baskwill and Beth Slates, to look after the welfare of kids, senile track alums, and anyone else not golfing. Lunch will be served on Mt. Nittany! All-Sports Museum trips and a trip to the Creamery will also round out activites while us idiots hack into the lush Happy Valley greenery.

The Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney will commence at 1:30 PM at The Elks Club Course, as guests of Coach Bill Whittaker. Lunch will be served before the tourney at the Hampton Inn.

The Shisler Shindig/Post-Tournament Celebration will begin after the Tourney. Food, fun, frolic and discussion of The Stanley Cup will be on the agenda. The Prizes and Awards will be handed out, and a forum on the future events may be held! Women and metrosexuals need not be bored; A skin care presentation will be made by Beth for Under Your Skin. Maps will be available on how to get to the Shislers home avoiding Polar Bear attacks. Snow chains probably won't be needed, but you never know! The Arctic Circle can have rapid changes in weather.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Cup Emerges! Keeper of the Cup Relieved

Under heavy security, and with white gloves on all handlers, The Harry Groves Memorial Cup* was unveiled today at a ceremony at an undisclosed location in a bunker beneath the Vice-President's residence.** Vice-President Joe Biden called the whole affair "stupendiferous"! He was genuinely concerned at the lack of an actual cup, but was assured everything was on the up and up.

The Cup's refurbishing took untold amounts of money and meticulous and intricate work, funded by anonymous and caring fellow track alums. The finished product will house many future championship foursomes (or fivesomes!). Stop by the Reunion evening at the Hampton Inn on College Avenue on Friday May 29, 2009 from 7:00PM til 10:00PM to see The Cup for yourself and greet the Event's namesake, Coach Harry Groves. A donation/raffle will be held to support our efforts. You will receive a signed photo of Coach Groves and a chance at some great prizes, plus the companionship of 50 or so idiots just like you!

Addendum: Early weather reports are good for Friday and Saturday of next week. Cross your fingers for our 8th straight fair weather event!

*Yes, Coach Groves is very much alive and can still kick your *ss!

**making fun of politicians is not an activity group officers condone in any way.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blog Snags Exclusive Interview!

Clark Haley, blog editorial chairman and professor emeritus has received exclusive rights to an interview of Coach Groves at the 8th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Reunion. His 4-part expose will appear in the blog some time after the event on May 30, 2009. A wide-ranging discussion should prove interesting to all Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers. Preparations are underway to bring professionalism and gravitas to our investigative unit prior to the interview.

In related news, Coach Groves turned down offers to be the head official at the NCAA Regional Meet in two weeks, clearing the way for his attendance at our Tourney. He even has plans to practice his chipping and putting prior to the event. That places all you non-attendees in the dog house, in case you are wondering. As Sergeant at Arms Douglas C. Neidermeier told Flounder, " You are worthless and weak, drop and give me twenty". There is still time to bribe an officer to be included in Coach's foursome.

PSU is 800 U: PSU Women Reign Again!

Fawn Dorr anchored the 4 X 400 M Relay to a 3rd place finish at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, one position ahead of Michigan to gain one point in the final standings. As they were less than a point behind Michigan for the lead before the last event, that gave them the victory by less than one point. Congrats on a team victory girls, (am I allowed to call them that?).

Ryan Foster again triumphed in the competitive 800 M, with Owen Dawson and Lionel Williams placing 3rd and 4th. That makes PSU, 800 U for sure! The Men (or boys to keep it consistent!) finished in 5th place.

Addendum: Brian Laird has finally succumbed and will increase our proper golf attire ratio substantially. Chris Snyder also signed up bringing our total number of Yanomamo to 8! The Fierce People are not known for golf, however. Read the earlier post on the Yanomamo Here.


"Never let the fear of striking out discourage you from trying"

Babe Ruth

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Search For The World's Greatest Kung Pao

I have been at it now for 26 years. At least once a week since the great snowstorm of 1983 shut Philadelphia down and I skied to The Szechuan Inn. You people already knew I was nuts, so I might as well bare all. In my defense, the interpretation of Chairman Mao's favorite dish differs markedly from restaurant to restaurant, and even day to day at the same restaurant. And I sometimes get something different if I "go Chinese" more than once in a week. Since adopting Anne from China, I have been treated better and better at every restaurant I visit. I have a few favorite restaurants, but all in all, they are all good. In China, the dish was presented with meticulously tiny cubed vegetables and chicken, with virtually no sauce. The flavors were exquisite! In Austria, I was served Kung Pao by German speaking waitresses, quite disarming. But yesterday I entered the world of P F Changs, an upscale corporate Chinese Bistro in suburban Philadelphia for the first time.. The Kung Pao was great, but African-American chefs and Hispanic waitresses seemed very weird. The quest will continue. I will return to P F Changs soon to try the Kung Pao Scallops. I wish I had a menu from every place I've visited.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Penn Relays Championship of America Vs. Olympic Medals

Coach explains all you need to know about the Penn Relays.


It's for real guys (and girls). The 18th hole will pay $10,000 for a hole-in-one from any of us Track alumni hackers. The rules aren't too strict, but we'll make sure to follow them thoroughly. Former Olympian, All-American and American Record Holder Greg Fredericks will serve as our monitor for the hole as well as our Course Marshall. Todd Leggett has signed up, so the Queensbury Rules may be out for everyone except Coach Groves. (Welcome back Todd!) We needed another "A" for sure.

Addendum: Dog photos continue to come in, but make sure to give me names! Cats have sneaked in also, but I'm not sure we need to make it a trend. My 4 seem to disagree with me on this point, however. Oliver, an 18 lb. declawed feline, has snagged a rabbit both of the last 2 nights! I don't know how he does it. I'll decide later about other cats. The more dogs the merrier!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Golf Tourney Updates!

Prizes have been added to this years unprecedented package. In addition to "Horace", "Barney" and "Mike" there are 4 hole-in-one prizes offered. Now, thanks to GM (Government Motors)* and its pairing with The Scooter Store we have the newest Green Car to offer as a "worst shot of the day" prize. It will certainly be a step down from the golf carts we are used to.

Pictured is returning Course Marshall and Hole-in-one Observer Greg Fredericks with The Keeper of The Cup Harry Smith and Post-Tourney Host Steve Shisler.

And there goes my next idea for a reunion favor!

*continued impugning of the governement's takeover of the automobile industry is reckless and unwise.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The History of Golf by Robin Williams*

Warning. This video contains gratuitous use of the F-word!! It is also the funniest rant I have heard in a long time. Brought to us by our Blog Laureate. Remember, I warned you about the language, I really did! (actually I counted 18 times in 2:20!)

I want no complaints from anyone about the language. I warned you. (It was funny though, wasn't it?)

*A 1:58 high school half-miler.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The List is Nearly Complete: A Few Slots Remain

The largest ever conglomeration of Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers is nearly complete. Revenues are poring in at The Keeper of The Cup's headquarters. Mafia influence has complicated the collection, but Secretary of the Treasury Geithner has assured us our application for TARP funds will be given appropriate scrutiny as soon as he's done taking over the Automobile Industry, The Health Care Industry, and The Educational System.*

The list of attendees is a Who's Who of PSU Track:
  1. Tim Backenstose- First generation Yanomamo
  2. Bill Malchano- Still trying for "The Cup"
  3. Debbie Malchano- Southern Belle
  4. David Baskwill- Herder of Cats
  5. Barbara Black- Director of non-golfing activities
  6. Susan Baskwill- Adjunct Director of non-golfing activities
  7. Rob Whiteside- Blog Roaming Coorespondent
  8. Clark Haley- Professor emeritus, Keeper of the Beer
  9. Jeff Sanden- Grand, Exalted IT Czar
  10. Steve Balkey- Triple sports threat
  11. Don Ziter- Phi Psi 500 champion
  12. Lynne Ziter- A true Saint for putting up with the rest of us all these years!
  13. Steve Shisler- Host of Post-Tournament Celebration
  14. Beth Shisler- Hostess of Post-Tournament Celebration
  15. Nick K.- Home Town Hero
  16. Mike McCahill- Returning Champion
  17. Gary Black- CFO
  18. Paul Mundy- Owner of "The Beast"
  19. Campbell Lovett- First Generation Yanomamo
  20. Harry Smith- Keeper of The Cup, Event Coordinator
  21. Harry Groves- The Greatest Track Coach in the World
  22. Robert Snyder- All-American Yanomamo
  23. Bob Gabel- Responsible for getting me 3 A's in College!
  24. Paul McLaughlin- Another damn half-miler
  25. Bob Hudson- Another home town hero (and half-miler)
  26. Paula Froke- Group's journalist
  27. Ben Karcz- Probably the only one of us without arthitis!
  28. Dave Spears- "A" golfing Yanomamo
  29. Jim Clelland- Loudly obnoxious guy (just kidding Jim!)
  30. Bill Whittaker- Coach, Fifth Champion last year
  31. Brian Boyer- Official Physicist (displaced Stephen Hawking)
  32. Kevin Kelly O'Brien- Probable winner of the Ghost award this year
  33. Bill Sheskey- What is it with all the half-milers?
  34. John Sheskey- Group architect and 60's radical
  35. Mark Haywood- Bermuda Triangle Escapee
  36. John Barber- JB, Coach's right-hand man
  37. Douglas Kent- Legal Counsel and great roommate
  38. Hunter Backenstose- Second generation Yanomamo
  39. Eileen Marrow (Meenan)- women's Team Liaison
  40. Peter Bortolotti- Rapid Transit Veteran
  41. Judy Lynn Weaver- Volunteer Extraordinaire and Blog Proofreader
  42. Zeb Stewart- Last-minute Storyteller
  43. Greg Fredericks- Course Marshall
  44. Dave Rihtarchik- Another Volunteer!
  45. Todd Leggett- Last Minute "A" golfer !!
  46. Nate Lovett- Another 2nd Generation Yanomamo
  47. Chris Snyder- Still another 2nd generation Yanomamo!
  48. Brian Laird- Proper golf attire guru!
  49. Beth Slates- Baskwill family friend and Official Nurse of Non-Golfing Activities
  50. - 59. Assorted non-committal types who better donate to the cause!
*right-wing snark is not a view held by all of the group's officers. We are a Big Tent.


"Patience is the companion of wisdom..."

St. Augustine

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

That Blob Isn't Me! Physics Update

Physicists have discovered a blob at the center of the Universe which existed shortly after The Big Bang. Even at my worst, the blob wasn't me or even Downtown, the mascot for the York Revolution baseball team. Downtown visited me at my office last year for an evaluation of his size 57 feet. Not really sure what Downtown is, but the feet had some webbing involved so I'm thinking bird.

There was some confusion at first as to whether the blob might have represented an earlier golf outing get-together of PSU Track Alumni Golfers, but none of the previous incantations were sufficiently large enough to explain the size of the blob. This year's reunion may remind physicists of a Big Bang though; we have 32 golfers and at least a dozen hangers-on. We often get a bunch of last minute appearances by those never able to make commitments, so the total will certainly be over 50 Alumni Golfers (remember the golf is optional, the mirth is required). Those appearing at the last minute will be persuaded by hammer throwers to make a donation to the group, and possibly win a prize besides! We don't turn people away, but we may twist arms to fill in a few golfing slots still available. It isn't too late to join in the fun, but time is slipping away!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Horace Hits the Links and More Swine Flu

"Horace" The Golden Putter took his very first trip to the links to show off his skills and beauty yesterday. He braved the muskets and cutlasses of Somalian Pirates at the Pirates Putting Cove in Weiglestown, PA. Gary Black is pictured celebrating his victory by one stroke over his nieces, Martha and Anne. It all came down to the 16th hole, The Wall of Death, which he calmly parred to take a lead he would hold to the end at the 20th Free Game Hole. "Horace" will be up for grabs at the 18th Hole at The Elks Club this year at the 8th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Outing and Reunion. The lucky winner shall receive 24 karats of golfing goodness and luck for a full year, (as well as a swell travel companion).

And the University of Delaware canceled its track meet this weekend due to the Swine Flu. We all know that influenza is maximally spread by running, jumping and throwing, so this seems like a prudent decision (!). Google ads now has Swine Flu masks and vaccines advertised on our site! Be sure to pick up a gross now, while they last!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New and Updated Blog Look! Blog Idiot Learns HTML (Learning HTML!)

This should help those of you who wanted the newest posts near the top of the page. It also maintains the ridiculous number of page elements I have added to the site. All your favorites are still here, just in a new position!
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