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Saturday, August 29, 2009


Warning: I'm turning the mirth way back on this post, but it shall return shortly.

The question I'm most often asked is "Why?" in reference to this web site, blog or whatever it is or will become.

It started for me in the summer of 1975, when I got wind of the store Greg Fredericks owned in State College. Word of his exploits had even made it to Dover, PA despite the lack of TV coverage, internet existence, and precious little newspaper coverage. I traveled the 100 miles to purchase my first "real" pair of running shoes (Nike Waffles-Blue!) and got the autograph of the PSU and American Record Holder in the 10,000 M on the back page of my first running log. I began two daily runs the next day. My goal became to run for PSU in the future.

Coach Groves wasn't on my radar then. All I heard about him was from a local high school coach who described him in extremely unpleasant terms. That sealed it, of course. Now I really had to train harder to make it onto the team. I had no talent, very little speed, but I did have many more miles than anyone else I knew. I sometimes put in 100 mile weeks in high school when others were doing 20 weekly. I sometimes ran 20 miles on a Saturday or Sunday when I set out to do 8 or 10. It was easy then, and quite fun. Because of my mileage, I figured no one should beat me my senior year, and the only one that did was the friend I let beat me in my last 880 yd. race because he had never won one. I didn't know what was ahead of me at PSU, but I turned down entreaties from several Division II and many Division III schools. My first meeting with Coach Groves was when I walked into his office early in the summer and asked if I could walk on. Surprisingly, I was welcomed and given a training schedule that consisted of him telling me to run a lot. Soon I received ominous letters from crazy people named Bruce Baden and John Ziegler urging me to up my mileage! What had I gotten myself into?

I have started this blog in order to make sure there are future athletes who will enjoy exactly what I did. An opportunity to become a better person through a tradition of excellence and hard work. Almost nothing else I have done in my life means as much to me as my achievements as a PSU athlete. There are probably thousands of athletes who Coach Groves help mold, many with talent far exceeding mine, but some with even less. He coached us all. He kicked our a**es when we deserved it. He reluctantly (and rarely!) praised us when we really deserved it. But every one of us is better for what we did as part of the PSU Cross-Country and Track and Field Teams. The Golf Tourney and Reunion started by Clark Haley is a great opportunity to remember and celebrate that part of us that was made better at Dear Ole State.

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