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...

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Bite of the Big Apple

The girls and I spent the afternoon in Manhattan with Nick K. and his family exploring Riverside Park, The American Museum of Natural History and Central Park. It's been 20 years between visits and I concur with Nick that NYC has never been finer. Next on the summer PSU Track and Field Alumni Golf Outreach Tour is Toronto, and a visit to Lord Stanley's Cup. (The real Cup stays in the Hall of Fame full time.) It was a pleasure finding out that Nick shares my passion for hockey AND 1965 Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The City That Never Sleeps!

The Chinatown Outreach Program was an astounding success. Attendees spanned the PSU years of 1973 to well into the 1990's! Pictured is  Phil Passen '92 (also entered in the contest), Herder of Cats Dave Baskwill '81, Nick K. '85, and Roaming Corespondent Rob Whiteside '83. Not pictured is Barb Black '80.

Many topics were discussed including Sharon Stone, golf, running, and how much State College has changed. Attendance at next year's reunion was stressed, but no force was used. Several members of the party were introduced to Kung Pao Chicken, the world's finest food, along with dishes ranging from tofu to duck, beef, tripe, pork and fish. Tsing Tao Beer topped off the festivities well.

Following dinner, those on the Family Plan departed via the Subway, while those on the Deluxe Plan sauntered off for bars unknown. Plans were made for future endevours along the same lines. It turns out the group sauntered to Fanelli's in Soho, tended by a Larry Holmes victim back in the day.

Addendum: An Outreach to Suburban Philadelphia is up next. Plans are in the incubation phase, so stay tuned. Kung Pao and PSU Track are a Splendid Combination.

*Photo by Anne Baskwill

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Birds of Prey: Another Reason to Stop Jogging!

My goodness, it is not like we need additional reasons to quit running, but here are two examples which would suffice.

Alfred Hitchcock was right!

Yo Quiero Taco Bell

Gidget, the Taco Bell dog, died Tuesday of a stroke after having an otherwise great day in California with her trainer. I suppose its as good a way to go as most others.

My daughter received a phone call from "The Talking Doggie" for her 2nd birthday (really Gary in disguise!) that she talked about for years.

RIP Gidget, you brought a smile to many of us and sold quite a few tacos along the way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Team Meeting 1978

Some of my favorite times in college were the Track team meetings we had at Rec Hall in 1978 and 1979. They were held in the room behind the bleachers that had windows overlooking the golf course. One of the many offices Coach Groves was shuttled between by his friends in the Athletic Department. The meetings were great! They were profane and exhilarating, no one would believe what happened in there, so we kept it to ourselves. They cut into our running time, but it didn't matter, because our heart rate was higher during the meeting than it was while running!

Does anyone else remember these meetings, or am I just imagining them like I did the dual meet with Villanova?

Anyway, I recently discovered this footage of one of these meetings, smuggled out by a hammer thrower or decathlete and passed around for all these years. Finally revealed!

Traveling With Euros

Several PSU Track Alums(and honorary ones!) are gallivanting around Europe on the Track Circuit and are doing quite well for themselves.

Matt Lincoln has posted a couple of strong finishes in the 1500 in Belgium Meets:
  • 7th Huesden 3:41.19
  • 3rd Ghent 3:39.80
Rebecca Donaghue (honorary alum and alumni golfer) has PR'ed in several distances, also in Belgium:
  • 3rd 5000 M Liege 15:34
  • 7th 1500 M Ghent 4:12.07
Matt is shown on the left with the rest of his Canadian allies. Rebecca is shown autographing this Belgium tot's program.

As the inventor of the French Fry, I salute Belgium and envy our compatriot's success.

Mish Mash of Extras

I actually retrieved my first baseball at a game in my life. I snagged a home run ball from a disgruntled youth who travelled twice as far as I did through the outfield seats in the picnic area, and was disgusted when I didn't give it to him. Tough luck buddy, they never promised life would be easy! Note the green wall in left field. It is the highest in organized baseball, one inch higher than Boston's Green Monster. That will surely P.O. the Red Sox Nation!

Mike Fanelli, friend of the group, took this photo of his dog apparently pole vaulting! He says his PR is nearly four feet. I hope he's joking. (Better than mine. Back in the day, I couldn't carry the pole down the runway!) Several new dogs are in our slide show. Send in a photo of your "man's best friend" for inclusion.

And, Brian Boyer sends us this pic of him with Hans Blix. The two of them are ridding the world of nuclear danger, one hors doevre at a time!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mountain Dew!

The Shisler's send us this great pic from the Great Smoky Mountains with a home-made PSU Track Alumni Wrist Band! This STILL officially enters him in the contest, as long as he suffers the humiliation of a penalty trip to York, PA and promises never to forget his wrist band again!

The Great Smoky Mountains are also close to the home of Mountain Dew, Knoxville Tennessee. Mountain Dew started as a lemon flavored syrup for use in flavoring Jack Daniel's whiskey. Once they added orange juice and a little carbonated water, the nectar of the gods we now know was born. Pepsi acquired the rights in 1965 and soon got rid of the great hillbilly theme (complete with rifle shots toward the revenuer fleeing the outhouse!). It has tickled my innards ever since I discovered it in 1965.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brainiacs, Donations and Baseball

Nine Nittany Lion Track Athletes were recognized by the USTFCCCA (yeah, can you believe the length of that one!) as Academic All-Americans for the past season. Congratulations to everyone! They are:
  1. Megan Duncan
  2. Cheryl Spring
  3. Ryan Foster
  4. Jay Pagana
  5. Bridget Franek
  6. Kim Hanslovan
  7. Dennis Pollow
  8. Clarence Smith
  9. Emma Smeltzer
Also, the Idiot Officers conferred via electronic means to assess the overall monetary repercussions of our recent foray into ineptness! What we found was extraordinary. The best year ever for our efforts. Thanks to everyone who came to the event and even those who donated to our efforts in the past year. We are certainly hoping for even bigger things to come once Barney Frank fixes the US economic woes.* Our gift of $250 to Coach Groves was in turn passed on to the Scholarship Fund in his name! Thanks Coach Groves. We also sent the Scholarship Fund another $600 via Ken Brinker, who we hope can join us next year! Still another $600 went to the Friends of PSU Track and Field. That leaves Keeper of the Cup, Harry Smith with $100 to secure the engraving of this year's winners. It leaves me, the Herder of Cats, with $700 for web site maintenance, herding of more cats, and procurement of goodies for next year's tourney. All donations are appreciated and are destined for the betterment of the entire group!

Those with bare arms are encouraged to donate a little to obtain a wrist band in order to enter our contest. Those with bare bodies can donate a little more to obtain one of either of our t-shirts. (Please send before and after photos!)

And finally, a trip to a ball game yielded me up close encounters with Brooks Robinson, whose first pitch put Obama's* to shame, and P. J. Rose (aka Pete Rose Jr.). P. J. hit a walk-off grand slam for the York Revolution last week while down by 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth!

*Continual political references have no place on this blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Bear Story: Requiem for an Ursidae (She didn't die, though!)

It was a dark and stormy night... (Snoopy began all of his novels this way.) Actually, it was a beautiful Sunday morning in early June, 1980. it was time for a 15 mile "easy" run, which meant 17 miles at a brisk pace through the woods, in the tradition of Bruce Baden and John Ziegler, my freshman mentors in 1977. Somehow every "15-miler" then was 2 hours at 6:00 pace, or so it seemed to a skinny, naive newby. (Yeah, I know, I'm still naive, but not skinny!)

I had elected to stay in State College to train "like an animal" over the summer before my senior year, hoping to make a breakthrough that even Coach Groves encouraged. I did set some PR's in the all-comers meets that summer in the mile, 2-mile, 1500 M and 3000 M, weaving in and out of the throngs that participated. I got to live with my brother who was auditing the books at PSU while in the MBA program, (headed by Charlie Maguire at the time!). I lived across the hall from Herb Menhardt who won the NC State game that year with a 56 yard field goal. I was in the best shape in my life and had just PR'ed in the 10 K (A race in which Greg Fredericks lapped me twice with his 28:08 pre-Olympic Trials effort!) I know, quite pitiful indeed, but it's all I have!

That Sunday run was a solitary one, the way I liked it it in those days. I selected the Pine Barrens Loop, always one of my favorites. (It got ruined right after this with the addition of homes at several key places, making a complete loop quite a challenge.) There was many ways to begin the loop, but I selected the path behind the Golf Course to reach Circleville Road. This was before there were even homes behind the golf courses, just fields and woods everywhere. Perfect habitat for deer, foxes and BLACK BEARS apparently. (Ursidae come in just two varieties in the Continental US, black or brown. The famed Grizzly bear is just a brown bear in a certain geographic region.)

As I entered the trail through the woods behind the golf course, I rounded a corner and... WHAM

(Those who read this blog know I am prone to hyperbole, but I'm not making any of this up, nor embellishing any of it!) I ran face first into a bear. Not just into, but INTO a bear. We were face to face, and I saw a red ring around its eyes. (Another person also descibed this red ring to me years later, but I cannot verify what it meant.) At that point I don't remember anything until I came to about 100 yards away, standing on Corl Street. Luckily, at that point Leonard Jansen, the racewalker came down Corl Street and found me there. (He verified every aspect of the story to my wife years later at a running clinic at which we both spoke, making me feel vindicated at last!) I was pale and babbling and he was somewhat amused. I managed to point out the bear to him and told him what happened. By then I was feeling somewhat better, but abandoned my quest for a 15-miler. The bear was last seen heading toward campus, none the worse for our encounter.

After ditching the idea of a run until my knees stopped shaking later in the day, I saw a police car on College Ave. and told him about the bear. He was relieved to find out that the bear was on the golf course, as "that isn't my jurisdiction." He sent me off to tell the campus police, (who also blew me off on similar jurisdictional criteria). (Apparently, murder is OK on the PSU Golf Courses, as police don't cover that part of the world!)

Absolutely no one but Leonard the racewalker believed my story that day (or many days since), but I got a smile on my face the next morning when I saw the Collegian front page. There was "my bear" getting darted out of a tree in front of Old Main, to be relocated to the Game Lands in the Pine Barrens! (I didn't run that route the rest of the summer!)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Four Score and Seven Golfers...

PSU Track Alumni Golf visited Gettysburg today, and asked this nice gentleman for directions to the Spirit of Gettysburg 5 K Race. With it being Bike Week here, I could barely hear the response. Something about a cemetery and a Seminary. Never did find the race, so I took a nap instead!

I think 87 golfers would be a good goal for next year, don't you?

Addendum: My walking lion graphic is back! It had been hacked by an anarchist group* or some such similarly ridiculous group for several days, but I found an original image to replace it with. Enjoy!

* An organized group of anarchists is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard about.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Additional PSU Family at Nationals!

I missed a few, but Luke Watson set me straight. It certainly was a good year for current PSU athletes, PSU grads, and even those now associated with PSU Track!

Shana Cox, 11th overall in the 400m.
Fawn Dorr, 12th overall in 400mH.
Tanner Evak, 15th overall in Javelin.
Luke Watson, 14th overall in steeple.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Third Generation Contest Entries!

Bill and Debbie Malchano (I spelled it right, I spelled it right!) send us this contest entry from somewhere below the Mason-Dixon Line. Little Harper is their first grandchild!

I'm thinking he looks like a decathlete to me. The contemplative look seems to indicate he's thinking about what event on the second day he needs to concentrate on. That, or something to do with his diaper!

Debbie will be competing for the "Kathy" award next year. (Bill will just try to get his name on The Cup finally.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Black Dog Can Teach Us All

For nearly 20 years, the Black Dog has wandered the streets of the west end of Richmond, Virginia. At first, no one could catch him. But then, many helped him evade the animal control officers and those who would harm him. Some left their garages open at night, others left him food and generally looked out for him. Barb Black got a rare glimpse of him nearly 10 years ago when the mystique was just getting started. Steve Black may have been one of the last to see him alive last Wednesday. He was killed in a hit and run sometime late last week.

In a country where 52% of the people receive a substantial amount of their income directly from the government (taxpayers), Black Dog survived on his own and with the voluntary help of people who admired him. A spirit wandering the neighborhoods of this (once?) great country, trying to remind us of our can-do, self-reliant forefathers. I will miss Black Dog, but I realize he'll always be out there, making us face up to the everyday struggle to survive. A Reality Show without a script. RIP Black Dog.

California Dreaming With "The Blue Band"

Larry Mangan sends us two photos to enter our contest from sunny California, (pronounced Kal- E-Forn-Ya, by their Austrian born governor). Larry was actually the first recipient of one of our "Blue Bands" when he told me he couldn't make the golf outing when we were at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.* I'm glad it has gone to good use.

The first photo shows San Francisco Bay and the second is Monterey Bay. Apparently, Larry saw fireworks in four different directions from atop the hills out there. Must be nice! I at least heard the fireworks at the York Fairgrounds, with my dogs shivering beside me.

*"The Blue Band" moniker is Larry's. I'm not that clever.

And, RIP Black Dog of Richmond VA. May you roam forever in our memory.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Contest Entry and A New Prize Just for Women!

Rob Whiteside enters the contest in a Big Way. This is a photo of Rob's wrist band in front of Albert Einstein's Princeton home! E=mc(2) for sure.

And the idiot officers are announcing another new prize to be inaugurated at next year's tourney. The "Kathy" will be given to the most valuable woman golfer at the tourney. Named for Kathy Mills, PSU great and one-time US record-holder in the 5000 M, the prize will be added to our list of rotating prizes started last year. I'm not sure what the prize will be yet, but I'm leaning toward a piece of fine jewelry. Helping us introduce the prize is Beth Shisler, probable winner of 4 or 5 of them if I had been intelligent enough to have thought of it earlier! An idiot is an idiot.... Spread the world, our Kingdom for some women!

Addendum: Congrats to James Carney on another great performance, 10th at the Peachtree Road Race in 28:18.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy July 4th! Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

Marquis de Lafayette toasts General Washington in front of the Golden Plough Tavern in the Nation's first capital, York PA. Note his PSU Track Alumni wrist band prominently displayed on his glass. This toast helped end the Conway Cabal, an effort to end George Washington's leadership of the nation's army. The Frenchman helped keep Washington in charge at a time quite critical to our fledgling nation. Fireworks worthy indeed, and a Frenchman to boot!

This will represent my entry in the contest, as I would love to have the golden golf ball for myself. Anyone think I shouldn't be allowed to enter?

Happy July 4th to all, both those on the Left and the Right. If you think partisan bickering is new, just re-read the fight to replace the Articles of Confederation with the US Constitution. And raise your glass to Ben Franklin, always my favorite Founding Father.
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