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...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween

Is there anything cuter than a bunch of baby bats? Wrapped up in blankets! With nipples at the ready to be fed!

Photo courtesy of FU Penguin, a site where cute animals are told what's what. (Content Warning: The FU stands for some bad words!)

FU Penguin here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Too Much Time on Someone's Hands?

There are many things wrong with This Story.
First off, $16 for an "Official" Whiteout T-Shirt is offensive to me! Second off, will I be forced to get a tattoo so I can look different from the guy next to me at the Whiteout Game, or will my self-esteem suffer from the conformity? Will I be ostracized if I wear an "unofficial" Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf T-shirt at the Whiteout Game? (Remember, you get a T-shirt and a limited-edition wrist band for a $20 donation to our cause!)

But way, way down on my list would be "will I be offending a non-Christian at the Whiteout Game by wearing the 'official' shirt"? And after that would be "how sad it is that non-Christians can't wear the shirt at the Whiteout game because it kinda, sorta has a Christian symbol sorta, kinda on it?

As someone with way too much time on my hands, (go ahead, I know you're thinking that about the blog!), I find it offensive that some would use this shirt as a platform to complain about anything. Anyone with any PSU knowledge knows about the lone adornment on all PSU football uniforms, the central blue helmet stripe.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

In a risky maneuver, I am testing the adverse effects of staying up late two nights in a row! The Kung Pao Outreach in Suburban Philadelphia commences on Friday night at 8:00PM, Oct. 30 at the P. F. Changs in Glen Mills, PA. We should have a good crowd of 15-20 people, many dining on Kung Pao Chicken for the first time in their lives.* The lucky participants become the first offered the new version of the wrist bands. Horace, the Golden Putter and Mike, the Silver Divot Tool are slated to be in attendance.

Following the event, I am headed to State College for the Big Ten Cross-Country Championships on Sunday and the Halloween Alumni Get-together at Damon's the night before. An all-out attempt at winning the costume contest is being made on my part, as I resurrect the same costume I last wore at a Halloween Party 30 years ago. Anyone throwing a vote my way will garner special credit at next year's tourney. In an attempt at Chicago politics, I hope to have my own Bodyguard present.**

*Reluctantly, I will allow the consumption of other foods for those too wimpy for spicy Chinese food or having allergies to peanuts.

**Ghostwritten copies of my autobiography will not be available.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Primal Seven Run

It was a dark and stormy morning. It didn't start out that way. It started out as any normal Sunday morning seemed to when we awoke and realized that we had to hightail it to Rec Hall shortly or we would incur Coach's wrath for being late for the Mountain Run. Usually we had to wait only for Gary to show up! Shaking off the vestiges of the night before, we donned our scratchy blues and grays and supplemented them with the even scratchier sweats of further gray. It was early Spring which is really late Winter in Happy Valley.

We piled into the Van of Blue with Coach driving, the entire rag tag bunch of 15 or so of us scratching, bitching and farting as usual, before making it to the starting area somewhere in Bear Meadows. The 15 mile run (actually 17 as usual) was throughout Bear Meadows, with the Switchbacks somewhere in the middle. (A chill has unexpectedly run up hundreds of spines of ex-PSU distance runners at the mention of Switchbacks!) All was going swimmingly until the second half of the run, when a dark chill seemed to envelope our world. By then we were spread out sufficiently that few of us were within site of each other. Soon site-lines didn't matter, as the darkness got worse. Then the rain began. A cold, cold rain, that seemed to penetrate to the bone. As we laughed that it couldn't get worse, the lightning began. At first, the frequent lightning was a benefit; it allowed us to occasionally see the road ahead and ever so slowly make it back to the Van. But then, the trees started bursting into flames occasionally, usually right next to us, with trees occasionally falling into the surrounding darkness with a sickening crunch.

As the rain continued, our sweats came alive and stretched to 200% of their former length, taunting us with their elasticity. When we doubled the ends up and pulled them to our groin, they still dragged on the ground in the middle, making running a struggle. (I swear, I'm not making that up!) It got colder, more trees fell and others burned, we couldn't see where we were going unless the lightning hit near us, and we weren't sure if we could find the Van.

Somehow, someone's prayers were answered and several of us stumbled upon the Van in the torrential rain and darkness. It was now as simple as reaching for the key, which all of us knew was always placed on the driver's side front tire, AND IT WASN'T THERE! For the first time in our recorded history, Coach had kept the key, and was somewhere in the darkness behind us, running with the trailing group or possibly lost for all eternity. The downpour continued as we huddled in the ever worsening cold. We didn't speak much, some of us were wondering whether we would ever make it back to the dorm for our Brunch of Chicken Cosmos or something.

When Coach finally made it back to the Van we all hurried in, only to realize that the usual disgusting odors were now magnified exponentially. The windows fogged relentlessly as the yellowish haze built in the passenger compartment. The drive back was only seemingly 2 hours long, and as we were finally nearing campus a thought hit me, that has stuck until this day.

While we were out there in the worst weather I had encountered in my 19 years, I realized that as humans, we were no better off than the common Tree Shrew I had just learned in Evolution Class was similar to our earliest ancestors on the hominid tree. The Primal Seven was formed, as I thought of what the poor Tree Shrews must have felt while stuck in the trees during such a storm.
  1. Cold
  2. Wet
  3. Tired
  4. Hungry
  5. Lonely
  6. Scared And,
  7. Thirsty.
And they had no Chicken Cosmos to look forward to!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Higgs Boson Goes Back to the Future?

I'm not making this up.
Danish and Japanese Physicists have postulated time travel may be involved in the continued problems associated with the world's largest nuclear accelerator in Europe! Repeated accidents and just plain bad-luck have besieged the facility from its initial conception. It still only works at part capacity, enabling 7000 scientists to earn a living doing nothing (or conspiring with al Qeada!). (It does have a working cafeteria which isn't too shabby!) The duo of non-conformist physicists conjecture that nature is "rippling back through time" to prevent the making of a Higg's Particle, sometimes referred to as "the God Particle". Some fear this will result in the destruction of the Earth. This is seen as a bad thing by some, but would seem to completely eliminate the negative aspects of global warming and fears of a new world order!

Noted Physicists Heisenberg and Feynman were unavailable for comment. but PSU Track Alumni Physicists pooh-poohed the claims vehemently. Ron Moore, in charge of the world's largest working nuclear accelerator in Illinois offers this assessment, "Two words - bull and sh*t." Brian Boyer also adds "Another crazy physicist", although its actually two of them. But I catch his drift. Ron does add however, "maybe a sentient Higgs field knows that and isn't too worried about being found out". Sounds like an episode of the original Star Trek to me!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gophers Need to Stay as Warm as Flamingos!

Different animal species deal with the complexity of global warming in different ways. Flamingos* adapt to the earlier cold temperatures seen with global warming by vacationing in Florida most of the year, where they generally have fun living in trailers and going to dinner at about 3:00PM each evening. Gophers on the other hand, like to take a nip now and then when stuck out in the "globally warm weather" like we had in State College for the past weekend's football game. Campus police confiscated a 2/3 full bottle of Captain Morgans from the Gopher cheer-leading squad on Saturday! Before we get all uppity over this we have to remember that the Gopher's Track Alumni still have a golf outing that dwarfs ours.

*Flamingos courtesy of my co-worker's stealth surgical night-time raid on Sunday morning.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weightmen Hurl State to Victory!

5/25/80, Rutgers University

So said the headline in the only article from the Daily Collegian I seem to have saved from the days of yore. I stumbled upon it upon gazing upon my running log for the first time in years. What a treat it became, as time and again, Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfers were mentioned. (It's also funny to think of Weightmen "hurling"!) The truth is it's the only time I was mentioned in a track and field article.

First up in mentions is Mark Heckel, winning the hammer throw with a toss of 148' 9 1/2". Two members of our group helped PSU win the 1600 M Relay. Tom Walchuck and Mike McCahill helped in the 3:14.02 victory. Tom Walchuck also ran a 50.03 400 M individually for sixth place.

The distance runs saw many Alumni Golfers garnering points in the Coaches Championships (a "conference meet" before we were ever in a conference). The Coaches Conference later became the Atlantic Ten in the days when Joe Paterno was trying to unite colleges in the East. Tom Rapp and Alan Scharsu vied for the win in the 1500 M, with Alan stealing the win at the finish in 3:44.00. Gary Black came in 5th in 3:53.00.

The steeplechase was another 1-2 finish for PSU, with Larry Mangan running 8:51.2 and Rick Garcia 8:57.0. Jeff Adkins finished second in the 5000 M in 14:50.19 with Mark Haywood and Rob Whiteside placing 4th and 5th. In the 10000 M, yours truly finished 3rd in 31:18 and Jim Clelland placed fifth in 31:24. (Remember now, the temps. were 96 degrees and the NCAA had given the OK for the use of a hose to cool the runners in the 10K. You had to run in the 2nd lane to gets spritzed as I remember.)

The jumps saw several of us join in the scoring. Paul Souza won the high jump with a leap of 6' 8". Ed Roskiewicz placed second in the triple jump with a leap of 47' 3 1/4" (or is that three leaps?) Don Skerpon pole vaulted 14' 6" for second place.

The photo shows Asheville NC's Biltmore Estate and a blue wrist band courtesy of the Malchano's.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Der Schnee" Wins Penn State National


For the first time that I can remember, a Cross-Country race at Penn State was canceled because of snow! Some of the teams that were scheduled to participate went to Lock Haven for a chance to race this weekend. It is not known whether the Alumni team participated.

This represents the earliest in recorded history that more than 20% of the continental US is snow covered. It has also been stated that this was the earliest that snow blanketed State College since 1901. I know differently, however. I did a morning run on October 12, 1977 before 6:00 AM (yes Coach, I really did!) and slipped on the snow and hurt my hip. My running log does not lie!

* Artist's interpretation of the 3 mile mark on the golf course.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mein wristen hassen ein Bleu Banden!*

Gary Black finally enters the Wrist Band Contest with this entry from Austria. This is a very small church high in the Alps near Schwarzenberg.

Gary has left the land of apple pie, hot dogs, baseball and Chevrolets several times for the luxury of strudel, wursts, hockey and BMW's.

Gary is hoping our wrist bands will serve as our identification under the coming ObamaCare Health Care Plan. The glow-in-the-dark models will come in handy when the Cap and Trade Policies make electric lighting prohibitive.**

* "Mein Handgelenk hasst das blaue Baendle"

**The right wing drivel is only meant to antagonize Gary. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

More Alums in the News:

James Carney helped the good ole USA place 4th in the Half Marathon World Championships in Birmingham England over the weekend. James placed 38th with a time of 1:04:00, not his best by far, but good for third place among the Americans.

And Honorary PSU Track Alumni Golfer Rebecca Donoghue placed third at the US 10-K Championships in Boston over the weekend, second place among Americans. Her PR (PB for the newbies!) 32:29 is the lastest in a series of bests this year for our adopted champion. I'm currently waiting for her photos showing her wearing her pink wrist band during the run! She earns a free glow-in-the-dark version for her stellar effort.

And we are up to 83 members on Facebook! Make sure to alert your friends that we exist. Remember, everyone is an Officer in our group. As Grand Poobah (Pubbah), I get to do anything I want. I can even make people eat Kung Pao Chicken!

Monday, October 12, 2009

You Should All Be Ashamed of Yourself!

I know I am. In my only attempt ever at "shotting the put" or whatever you weightmen call it nowadays, I managed something like 17 feet. In my defense, I only weighed 118 lbs. at the time (yeah, can you believe that?) and was using the heavier college implement (a cannon ball I think it's called!).

Ruth Frith set a world record for her age-group at the World Masters Games in Sydney yesterday. Her shot-put of 13' 4.2 " let her claim the gold medal in the Over 100 age group! Never mind she was the only competitor; Father-Time and the Grim Reaper are staunch competition for anyone in her category. She is also heavily favored to win gold in the javelin, and hammer events.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blasts From the Past!

A weird series of events led me to cruise through the Interwebbie Thingie where I came across this gem of an article from the Centre Daily Times archives.

At the Second Annual Arts Festival Ten-Miler, PSU Track Alumni Golfers were out in force. This would be 1977 or 1978, well before the dawn of breathable fabrics, colors and probably when dirt came to be made. Even Coach Groves tickled the pavement at exactly 6:00 pace.

Greg Fredericks, our Course Marshall (among other duties!) defended his title in impressive fashion, blazing a 47:37. Charlie Maquire came in second in 50:19. I wish Charlie was still around to enhance our group. He was one of the three toughest runners I ever saw. (I witnessed him run a sub 9:00 2-mile 8 years after college on minimal training.)

Other PSU Track Alumni Golfers included in the trailing pack:
  • Jim "Frit" Cooper (on our Wish List) 51:37
  • Tim Backenstose 53:49
  • Gary Black 55:10
  • Hugh Hamill 55:32 (Also on our Wish List)
  • Mark Parker 56:06 (Nike COO and on our Wish List)
  • Bill Kvashay 58:30 (you heard about his Penn Relays Marathon "Win" here)
  • Kathy Mills (Namesake of our newest award for the Most Valuable Woman Golfer and former World Record Holder in the 5000M)
  • Coach Harry Groves 60:00 (I wonder who took off the extra seconds on that one!)
  • Bob Hudson 60:57 (as an 8th grader!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nittany Lion Alums in the News:

Current Nittany Lion Tyler McCandless placed 27th at the US 10-Mile Championships in Minneapolis over the weekend in 50:17. Tyler has eligibility for Indoor and Outdoor Track this season and is surely missed by the XC squad this year. Maybe he should speak with Gary Black, Brian Boyer or John Ziegler about their 24 years of combined eligility! (Just kiidding NCAA.) I'm looking forward to a big Track season from Tyler.

Jamie (Rutkowski) Donaldson ('96) only discovered her finest running niche in 2004. Having spent time with Park Barner (an Ultra-Running pioneer from Harrisburg) in the past, I still never quite understood Ultra-Runners. They are a strange and wonderful breed. Jamie set the US record in the 200,000 M run (yeah, you read that right!). She went on to run 133 miles for 24 hours. Her record of 21:01:28 eclipsed the previous 200,000 M (you read that right again!) by a full 7 minutes. I doubt she has time for golf, but I'll ask anyway.

Luke Watson, PSU Graduate Student, posted a debut 2:15:29 in the Twin Cities Marathon. Luke is a Notre Dame grad, but none of us hold it against him. He too has little time for golf, but we may shame him into it yet.

And James Carney is representing the US Team again at the World Half-Marathon Championships in Birmingham England this weekend.

Nobel Prize in Physics Goes to Americans!


Yesterday, the Nobel Prize in Medicine went to 3 Americans, today the Physics Prize goes to 3 more Americans. Whatever the ramifications of our current economic crisis and foreign policy crisis, America is still the home of innovation and academic excellence.

The Physics Prize went for the discovery of fiber optic transmission of data and digital imaging, which of course is essential in the everyday practice of young people clicking photos of themselves with their drunk roommate holding 2 beers and then virally spreading it to 597 friends on Facebook! Technology is wonderful to everyone except the Unnabomber.

Addendum: The Chemistry Prize goes to 2 Americans and an Israeli! It keeps getting better and better. The Economics Prize also went to Americans. (And the Peace Prize went to an American too, although some dispute that!**)

* The Feynman Diagram is merely representative of something to do with Physics. No particles were harmed in the writing of this post.
**Not me! (Although our President throws like a girl, prefers arugula to hot dogs, he does in fact own Chevrolet!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hockey Season Begins

Mr. Elbows says "Get your sweater on, it's time to play!" The NHL Season is off to a great start for the Red Wings haters out there; 2 losses to start the season over in Europe to the division rival Blackhawks.

Never-the-less, it's good to have the blades of steel back.

I bring you this patriotic, inspiring musical interlude to begin the 2009-2010 season:

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Don't forget all of the upcoming Alumni Celebrations and get-togethers! The Suburban Philly Kung Pao Dinners at P. F. Changs in Glen Mills on Oct. 30 and Nov. 21 will have 10-15 attendees (unless some of you respond shortly!). I need a reliable count to make appropriate reservations. RSVP here. The newest version of the ever-popular wrist band will be available for a modest donation to our humble group's account. Both blue with white lettering and glow-in-the-dark with blue lettering unisex models are included this year. Those not attending any of our events can still donate and receive one (or two!).

I will be attending the Alumni Event at Damon's in State College on Oct. 31 also. I will be going dressed as a PSU Physics Graduate Student! The Big Ten XC Championships on Nov. 1 may be the last races run on the Golf Courses at PSU. Let's send it off in grand fashion. The wrist bands will also be in attendance at that event.

There is also an Alumni Event at Damon's after the National Invite XC Race on Oct. 16. I await news of the Alumni team's efforts at that race.

And, this year's Golf Tourney will be celebrating the 80th birthday of Coach Groves! Special surprises are in the works. Cake and Creamery Ice Cream (possibly even Death By Chocolate?) will be available.
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