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...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Lied (Sorta) But for a Good Cause

I'm often wrong, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to use this video as a way of saying goodbye to a fine year for all PSU Track Alumni Golfers (and non-golfers alike!).  Being that it involves color and refracted light, it's a physics post, even though I said there wouldn't be any more this year.  Just about anything can be considered a physics post anyway.

Just as our planet has a sky of blue and often sunsets of red, Mars has a sky of red and sunsets of blue As captured by the Mars rover, color corrected, a sunset on the Red Planet:

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Last Physics Post of the Year

Physicists in Warsaw have expounded on earlier work by Penn State Scientists in 2006 and 2007 to help define the Universe PRIOR to The Big Bang.

It turns out The Big Bang might have just been a Big Bounce, and that a shrinking Universe with similar physical properties to our own existed prior to the creation of ours.

I can't pretend to understand much of this stuff, but I find it fascinating none-the-less.  That is, until the inevitable headache happens. Then I need a nap.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More Living in the Past (As If I Needed More!)

Ah, the 70's.  Platform shoes, leisure suits, gas "shortages" and 3 television channels to choose from!  But then again, some of the greatest track and XC races even to this day.  I was hoping to bring everyone a photo of Alan Scharsu's original Nike Disco Shoes (slicker than crap through a goose, literally), but we'll have to settle for these 2 gems instead.

First up is Charlie Maguire's 1973 final lap in the NCAA 6-mile from Baton Rouge.  Charlie was one of the toughest runners I ever saw, the others being Alberto Juantorena and Seb Coe

Next is a great article forwarded to me from Phil Passen (before setting out on a snowy NYC 12-miler!!) and group friend  Henry Klugh, (who I could beat in the Mile only by tripping him with a lap to go!).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

It has been a great year for Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golf.  Our goal of attracting more of the 1,500 living PSU tracksters to our fold has gained steam.  The Harry Groves Memorial Golf Tourney has grown each of the last three years, and even non-golfers have realized  how great our reunion is!  We are well on our way to making our group the largest and most active group of its kind in the world.  I thank each and every one of you.  The photo is courtesy of Walt Chadwick and runmoremiles.com, a great friend of the group.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scattered Silliness

Thank goodness for the education that all of our tax payments give our children.  When they ask for more in the upcoming years, I hope I can designate some to go toward English and Proofreading studies.  (That, or 15 lessons in Sex Ed. apparently!).  Just what did Steve Prefontaine learn in Oregon schools?

And our next poll will decide which is better, Neil Young's (with Bruce Springsteen!) version of "Whip Your Hair Back and Forth" or the original from Will Smith's 11 year-old daughter Willow.  Get your votes in on the left sidebar.  Thanks to Barb Black for alerting me to this "blast from the past".

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Toeing the Line with Shorter, Prefontaine and Lindgren at Hayward Field (This Time for Real!)

Assistant to the Laureate Larry Mangan surfed the Intertubes to bring us this great race from the past pitting our Course Marshall Greg Fredericks against the best in the last National AAU Championship in the 3-Mile in 1971 at hallowed Hayward Field. 

The race came one week after Greg came in second to Steve Prefontaine in the NCAA 3-Mile.  He was nursing a sore foot and leg which turned out to be a stress fracture Steve again wowed his hometown crowd by winning the race.  There were many other notables in the race.  Greg remembers second place finisher Steve Stageberg as a great runner for Georgetown who also came from Oregon.  Dave Merrick of Penn was also a good runner early, but never advanced to the big-time.  Frank Shorter came in third and Gerry Lindgren fourth.  Greg remembers Gerry as a "goofy guy" who the next year caused the sensation at Hayward Field with his Stop Pre t-shirt. "Goofy" is as kind a word for the amazing runner as I've ever heard.  Greg is always the gentleman!

Here's video of the whole race, with an interview with Prefontaine at the end.  Thanks Larry, without you I'd have nothing but Physics posts!  (One is coming soon).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bowling For Christmas

I'm not kidding either!  This will mark the seventh year in a row that the Black/Baskwill families partake in a bowling competition on Christmas Day.  This Christmas tradition was started by Barb and allows everyone to relax on the special day without having to clean up the house or cook dinner for multitudes.  We just show up at the bowling alley at the chosen time and have at it.

It turns out there is always a bowling alley open on the day because the bars stay open for the football games.  Each year we have been joined by more and more families.  Everyone in our group brings one present of the same price range and high score gets the choice of the pile.  The kids have their own lanes and their own prize stash, so the competition among the adults gets rather keen.  Every other year an outside ringer shows up to shake up the regulars.  I have yet to take home the grand prize, but I'm usually in the hunt anyway.

Anyone out there have a more peculiar Holiday tradition?  Maybe something involving a moldy fruitcake or something??

Monday, December 20, 2010

PSU Coaches Never Rest, (Well, almost never!)

Winter graduation ceremonies on Saturday and an absence of Underclassmen still didn't allow much rest for the Penn State Coaching Staff.  All except Coach Gondak gave instruction and tutelage to an eager bunch of 10-18 year-olds.  Coach Gondak was apparently sent on a reconnaissance mission to sunnier climes in order to evaluate conditions for my wife's upcoming Goofy Race.  I think that's it!

My oldest braved the drills and interval workout overseen by Coach Sullivan and Jess Riden, while my youngest learned starting techniques and hurdle basics from Coach Johnson and also did 6 X 100 M with nary a complaint!  Both slept well, may I add.  The PSU Staff is the hardest working staff in the nation!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Off To Camp!

I'm off to State College to take my daughters to the Penn State Track and Field Day Camp.  They will get the chance to train on an indoor track and receive instructions, tips, and techniques from the excellent PSU Staff. (Much better instruction than Bill Murray's advice to the geek runner in Meatballs, although it did work in the end.)  My youngest will even attempt to learn to hurdle, after playing around with them at last year's Alumni Run.  I would have loved this opportunity when I was 10-18 years old, but then again Coach Groves might have scared me off back then!  (Just kidding Coach!)

And here's a camp experience nothing like PSU Track Camp... "It Just Doesn't Matter"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

They Don't Call Me an Idiot For Nothing

I really didn't think that the track pictured in the latest photo of Greg Fredericks was THE track at Hayward Field, but I couldn't resist throwing it out there for the inevitable corrections I would get. It was also a great excuse to put up an Animal House Trailer.  Larry Mangan correctly pointed the fact out quickly, but we are having a little trouble figuring out the exact track in question.  Leader of the Alumni Run Greg Fredericks himself points out that it may be a photo from Bakersfield CA in 1970.  The track was a clay track and this seems to fit his recollection.  The younger crowd will probably be wowed by the fact that humans could actually run on such a thing, but I can go one better.  The 1978 1979 (I was really, really close!) PIAA Class B State Track Championship was won by a team of only two from a school that only had a grass track. (Hint: There is a PSU connection.) Does anyone know the PSU connection and the school involved? (Yes Virginia, It was Kennard-Dale and Todd Shenk!) I have also run on a Macadam track in Ephrata PA (fast) and a gymnasium floor in Gettysburg (painful).  Anyone run on anything weirder?

* The anonymous commenter gave us this pic.  Try 12 X 400 at 70 sec. on that bugger, why don't you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trapped Like a (Frozen) Rat Looming

The annual trip to the World of Disney is coming up again, just in time to note the 19 degree temperatures in MIAMI!  Barb will again lace them up for the Goofy Race (a half-marathon on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.)  This year's wrinkle doesn't quite top last years broken rib, but a kidney stone again complicates things.  I, of course will continue to do my usual elliptical work-out with 3 miles on the treadmill, and possibly a jog or 2 around Disney property.  Note that my indoor orange crop will again out-do the ice-ravaged Florida version for the second straight year.

Old School Nike Goodness and Keeper of the Golden Putter at Hayward Field?

Our Official Photo Supplier and Track Historian, Walt Chadwick, has sent me these two old Nike Prototype photos from the days of yore.  First up is their initial Astroturf Shoe.  Second is the prototype for the LDV, discussed previously, taking width to gargantuan proportions.  Walt relates that he ran in a lot of prototypes, but not these.  I'll bet his lower extremities are grateful for that!

And he also sent me this old-school photo of Keeper of the Golden Putter, Greg Fredericks at Hayward Field, I believe (?).  Great form as always.

Stop by Walt's website for some good vintage (and other) Track/XC photos.  A great gift idea this time of year.  He will have some early 80's PSU/Penn Relays beauties for this year's Reunion if the stars align properly!  Can't wait. 

And here's another shot of Hayward Field we all know and love.  That's it in the background as Otter tees off and beans Niedermeyer (Dead Man) on the helmet.  Look fast or you'll miss it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Musical Interlude Prior to the Holidays and Indoor Track

Donald Trump's Hair Blowing In The Wind from BuzzFeed on Vimeo.

And Happy Chanukah Everyone! I'm a little late on that one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hanson Brothers Reunite in Russia! Hockey is Back!

A mere six seconds into the game, they throw down!  Never mess with anyone from the Federal or the Iron League.  Even the Russian Crowd enjoyed it.

Not as good as the time they brawled before the game, even before referees made it onto the ice.  Warning: the f-bomb appears in this scene.  But can you blame the guy?

As an added note:  The referee in this scene couldn't skate and was wearing shoes!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Third Photo Caption Contest Ends

"So THAT'S what Mark Heckel and Alan Scharsu are up to these days!"

 The largest number of votes for any of our contests seem to confirm that none of my own comments make the grade.So whatever clever miscreant is responsible for this  affront to two great tracksters of yesteryear, please let me know!  You have won a free dinner at the Tenth Annual Harry Groves Golf Tournament Awards Ceremony.

I warned you all that Mark Haywood would be hard to beat.  It turns out he has won a second Photo Caption Contest. And snide asides aren't even his strong suit!  Try to say that 3 times fast.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

A nearly year-end thank you to all of my "tens of readers".  In my effort to promote the Annual Harry Groves Golf Tournament and Track Alumni Reunion, I have found a voice for all the insane drivel stored in my brain.  And there's plenty more....

First up, Edison Pena's favorite vocalist, Elvis Presley,  saved a life at the Vegas Marathon last week.  Or an anesthesiologist dressed as Elvis resuscitated a stricken runner at a fast-food joint anyway.  I plan on being remarried to my wife at a Vegas ceremony with Elvis as the Preacher AND the reception entertainment. Maybe the limo driver too....

Next, how soon would an American politician be kicked out if he pulled this stunt?  "If you can't win, just pick up your ball and go home" seems to be his intellectual gift to human mediocrity!  It's as if "foreigners in underpants" is a bad thing or something.

And finally, herte's a photo to bring back those warm, fuzzy feelings from elementary school.  I can still remember my classmates sprinting to the cafeteria to be first in line.  Me, not so much.  But I was a fan of the North Halls Cheesesteaks back in the day.  And of course the world's finest dessert, strawberries and bananas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tyler McCandless Qualifies for Oly Trials in Debut!

In his Marathon debut, Tyler McCandless qualified for the Olympic Trials with a superb 2:17:22 at the California International Marathon.  I just stole his photo collage from his website so I had better put a link to his website HERE.  I've been waiting for his qualifying effort ever since he missed the mark (by 1 second!) at his earlier 1/2 marathon.  Congrats Tyler.  Intelligence, desire and hard work still count for more than anything else. You make us all proud.

And Tyler's link to our site from his site is very much appreciated!  It's also the coolest one so far, incorporating our walking lion .gif  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Phil "The Gladiator" Passen Checks In

Phil Passen sends us this great addition to our collection of Blue Wrist Bands Around the World.  Quite a good one, I may add.

I have renamed him "The Gladiator" now that I know he's taking weekly 10 mile runs in Van Cortlandt Park!

PSU is 800 U: 2011 Preview

I'm looking forward to a great 2011 Middle Distance campaign from the Nittany Lions, especially after the great Cross Country seasons for Kyle Owen* Dawson and Ryan Foster.  I'm thinking that portends some great indoor 1000 M activity and an outdoor 1500 or two!  Here's Coach Gondak discussing the upcoming seasons.  No mention of golf though, which I know is always at the back of his mind!

*Steve "The Ombudsman" Shisler points out the error of my ways in confusing the Dawson brothers (again!).  His reprimand is taken with the grace and dignity I always reserve in these error-filled posts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The World's Greatest Apartment

Before there was "Track Houses and Cribs" and YouTube and even digital watches, PSU Track had "The Apartment" above the Lions Pride in State College.  John Ziegler was ensconced there while I was in school and held sway over some of the best parties ever held.  Some of my fine memories at the place are:
  1. Meeting my future wife there at one of Ziggy's parties!  
  2. Meeting the girl's gymnastic team at one of Ziggy's parties! How he coaxed them into coming was a secret he never divulged.
  3. Spilling a beer on a skinny runner recruit named Hill at one of Ziggy's parties, sending him off to obscurity at Oregon.  Ended up becoming filthy rich selling running tights, go figure.

I have recently become aware of a myriad of other PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) who also called "The Apartment" home for a year or more.   I didn't even know my Best Man, Rob Whiteside, called it home for 2 years.after I left State College!  The Shisler's both lived there, as well as Randy Moore and future PSU Track Alumni Golfer Dave Benman.  The talented and good looking (I'm just saying) Jeff Adkins, and Assistant to the Laureate and Chief Morale and Laundry Officer Larry Mangan also hung out there, which had been erased from my memory until now. The parties may have had something to do with that.  Please alert me to any additional roommates I'm missing in the Comments below.  And did anyone have "The Apartment" before Ziggy?  And how long did it last after those mentioned?  And more importantly, How could Brian Boyer have missed living there in his 16 years at PSU?
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