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, August 31, 2011

The Worst Movie Ever Made

My choice for the worst movie ever made has been 1492:Conquest of Paradise.  As with most things I have an opinion on, most people vehemently disagree.  But any movie that has a Frenchman playing a Corsican living in Italy, who sails from Spain while speaking English gets my nod.  Gerard Depardieu's recent "airline mishap" only reaffirms my opinion of him.  Queen Isabella was played by Sigourney Weaver (!!) and King Ferdinand was bumbled by Tom Selleck (!!!).  The dialog was so bad I almost had to get up and leave the theatre, which I've only done once in my life (Looking for Mr. Goodbar).  Instead I stayed and laughed out loud (LOL'ed for the younger among my tens of readers) throughout the debacle.  My wife and sister can verify this, but they hated the movie as much as I did.  The film attains a Rotten Tomato rating of 47%, but then again, film critics are idiots!

Several others wrote in with their own choices, including Caddyshack II , and An Inconvenient Truth. Since Al Gore's movie landed him an Oscar, and the Rotten Tomato score is 93%, I'll abstain from commenting further.  You all know I keep my politics oblique here!  (hee hee hee)  But Larry Mangan again gets the award here for pointing us to Caddyshack 2 (which I've never seen).  The Rotten Tomato score of  8% isn't the lowest score of films I've seen, but it is close.  Larry has implored me to avoid renting it to check it out. I happen to adore "bad" movies. ( I love Adam Sandler...)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't Miss Out, Join the Crowd

We are on our way to becoming the largest and most active Track and Field (and Cross Country!) Alumni Group in the entire world.  There is only one thing preventing it, and that is some of you!  Sign up at the PSU Track Office in order that the mailing lists can be fully updated and everyone can be kept fully up-to-date with all the exciting things we have planned.  Be sure to forward the link to those who may not know about us also. 

Use this link to be magically transported via the wide-world intertube thingie to the proper form!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bridget Franek Places 7th in Heat of SC at World Championships

Bridget Franek ended her first year as a professional running for Nike with a 7th place finish in the first heat of the 3000 M Steeplechase at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.  Bridget finished with a 9:43.09.  She just missed making the mark to move on to the second round.  Knowing Bridget the little bit that I do, makes me sure she'll use this to her advantage for next year's campaign!

* Photos are from Paul Merca and tracktownphotos.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RIP Joey Vento

The unapologetic Joey Vento passed away yesterday at the age of 71.  Best known for his lucrative business in Philadelphia, Geno's Steaks, he never shied away from the backlash on his opinions.  When he posted the "Speak English" sign at the ordering window for cheesesteaks, he opened a can-of-worms that can't be closed.  The same violent opponents he created would also be the first ones Joey would stoop to help in any way he could.  A more true old-fashioned, melting-pot American will never be found.  I'm proud to have purchased a steak from him on more than one occasion and personally like them more than his neighbor and competitor, Pat's King of Steaks.  In the end though, I favored Jim's Steaks over both of them.  I would imagine that Joey would chuckle a little to hear me say that and then begin to try to change my mind....

And Ryan Foster added an entry to his blog, so I had better add it here!  Blogs are multiplying like rabbits... (or in his case devils!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PSU Track Alumni Blogs Everywhere!

It seems blogging has emerged from parent's basements everywhere and is no longer the sole home of nerds like me anymore.  I would like to think this humble blog had something to do with it, but that would be presumptuous of me. Several PSU Track Alums are blogging their exploits and even some inanities like me!  None offer any insights into the world of physics, however.  And none have a store with underwear with Coach Groves' image on them.  I've got that going for me. Here's a recent compilation of a few of them:

Let me know of any others.  My staff of fact checkers and editors can hardly keep up.

AND!!!  New items added to the Group Store, including an exclusive"PSU is 800 U" drinking glass with the iconic image designed by the PSU 1980 Olympic Team member, Greg Fredericks.  (Well, retired folks have to have something to do!)  Just kidding Greg.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cas Loxsom Fourth at World University Games: PSU is 800U

The World University Games are the world's second largest sports event, only eclipsed by the Olympics themselves.

After a successful and long indoor and outdoor campaign, Casimir Loxsom extended it by an extra month and a half to travel literally half-way around the world to compete in Shenzhen China. He was accompanied by "PSU is 800U" Coach John Gondak.

Cas negotiated the first two rounds of the event with 1:47 efforts and finished fourth in the finals with a 1:46.73 time as the first American.  And he will be thrilled to learn that the return flight is noticeably shorter!  He'll return to the good ole USA just in time to start classes in his Junior Year at PSU.  Next up is steeplechaser  Bridget Franek at the World Championships in South Korea.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What About the Golf?

We actually rarely talk about the golf here, so I thought we could at least delve into it a little bit in order to assuage the fears of the "non-golfers" out there.  I'm one of them, actually.  My best ever score on a regulation course is 104.  I once started a round with fellow PSU Track Alum Golfers Gary Black and Zeb Stewart with a par, birdie and a par on the first three holes.  The round deteriorated after that and my score rose above 104 before I abstained from the last 2 holes.  That's how bad I am!  But in my defense, no one has ever come in second place at our tourney more than I have.  I have contributed significantly on several foursomes, and my name is on The Cup along with Zeb, Don Ziter and Bob Gifford (come back Bob, we miss you!).  There are more than a few non-golfers engraved on The Cup, and every one of them had a good time.  Relatives are invited; Alan Scharsu's brother Doug is forever immortalized in our annals, even if Alan doesn't yet appear there.

Here are some reasons I thought up as to why golf is great:

  • You are almost always with 3 friends while doing it.
  • You are surrounded by nature while doing it, even if it is chemically enhanced.
  • Golf carts, and even hand-carts nowadays, have cup holders.
  • If another idiot on the course hits a hole-in-one, you'll get a free drink.
  • Unless you are Donald Trump or Carl Spackler, you aren't at work when you are golfing.
  • Cheating is sometimes looked upon as cute, especially if your name is Bill.
  • The drink-cart girl works at Hooters.

And here's the funniest video ever created about golf.  I know it's a repeat from 2 years ago.  I couldn't resist bringing it back.  Be forewarned, the F-word is used probably 303 times in this video. You have been warned! Don't come to me after being offended.

Please send me a comment with your best ever legitimate golf score. I'm looking at you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Doing Things "The Right Way"

"If this doesn't deserve the Death Penalty, what does?  Actually selling narcotics on the field during games??"   -Colin Cowherd, discussing the University of Miami Football Program.

The longer I'm alive, the more I fail to understand things.  For twenty years I've been saying that a certain Big Ten Football and Basketball Program has been cheating.  (Although I can certainly understand why nobody listens to me!) All the signs were there at every step of the way.  It even ensnared a former PSU Basketball Coach a few years back.  That, combined with that team's holding on every single offensive play (don't get me started!) has made a cynic (curmudgeon?) out of me. And I'm normally a lover, not a hater!  And who among us didn't think egregious things were occurring in Coral Gables, Florida?  When a student has not one Cadillac Escalade, but two, how can 5 or 6 years go by before anyone notices?  If cleaning up college athletics means I'll be watching high-school level quality games in the future, I'm all for it.  I've seen some great quality high school football and basketball games. If staying clean means PSU Athletics has to make champions out of "the second tier" of athletes, I'm all for that, too.  I hope you are with me.

With all the work our group has done, no one is looking for anything other than a stronger program to come out of it.  Many of us give substantial funds for our golf tourney or reunion activities, which in turn leads to revenues from all the participants.  I'm proud to say the leaders of our group insist on giving 100% of those funds to the future of the program.  In a recent telephone conversation with Coach Alford-Sullivan, we learned that Coach Groves' Scholarship is 1/3 of the way to being fully funded!  An athlete each year is partnered with Coach Groves as a recipient of wisdom.  One day an athlete will receive a full scholarship in his name.  I firmly believe that eventually a member of our group will anonymously bestow a large gift for the track program that will help fully endow the whole thing.  I'm that optimistic.  Until then, I'll keep plugging away, reminding each of you how valuable and character-building Penn State Track has been to each of us.  With a little Physics, golf and frivolity thrown in!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cross Country Season Begins!

The Cross Country teams have arrived in Happy Valley and have begun the arduous training for another season.  Actually they are seen here filling out forms and getting the scoop on NCAA compliance.  In my day, we didn't have these kinds of meetings, we just got together occasionally to hear the wisdom of Coach Groves.  Times have changed...

Also, as Cross Country season begins, the indoor season is never far from anyone's mind.  Painting has commenced for the lanes at the Ashenfelter Indoor Track.  Thanks to Jess Riden for the twitter/Facebook photos.

And the time-consuming and geekified torture of coding has commenced on the group's very own iPhone and Android apps.  The prototype version is functional but not up to sufficient standards to be available on the app store just yet.  As our Laureate would put it, "I have put my best man (Exalted IT Czar) on it." 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Magic Made 31 Years Ago Today!

Ten Things you didn't know about Caddyshack!
  1. Bill Murray improvised the entire "Cinderella Story" monologue with only one sentence of direction.
  2. The gopher noises in the movie were the same noises made by "Flipper" the porpoise.
  3. Bill Murray's brother wrote the screenplay.
  4. Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase were originally signed to do cameos.
  5. Tiger Woods once did a commercial as Carl Spackler.
  6. Harold Ramis wanted the musical score to be entirely Pink Floyd music.
  7. The second story of the Bushwood Clubhouse was a fake facade.
  8. The movie was supposedly in Nebraska, although it was filmed in Florida.
  9. Cindy Morgan at first refused to appear topless in the film.
  10. Chevy Chase and Bill Murray had to have the scene of them meeting in the equipment shed added at the end of filming, or they would not have ever appeared in the film together.
  11. Bonus!  Sarah Holcolmb only appeared in 4 movies before retiring.  Two were the best 2 films ever made.*

* Opinions may vary. But not by much...

Friday, August 12, 2011

11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney and Expanded, Super-Duper Alumni Reunion Announced

The dates for next year's Reunion and Golf Outing have been worked out by a dedicated team of professionals via the wonders of Alexander Graham Bell's 19th Century invention (and a little 21st Century twist!).  Friday May 18th will see a huge crowd of both Mens and Womens Team Alumni of both Track and Field and Cross Country of every era of PSU history.  Surprises will abound, as the links between Clark Haley's initial group of rag-tag golfers and the Track Program of Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan have become stronger than ever.  It's not all about the golf, as I've always said, but give the golf a try, I guarantee a good time.  The golf will commence on Saturday, May 19th.  There will also be additional family and non-golf activities.  Absolutely everyone is invited and more details are to come.  Set this weekend aside now, you'll not want to miss it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

PSU Stars Overseas

Bridget Franek is nearing completion of her preparations for the World Championships in South Korea.  She is currently in England and has been hindered somewhat by the riots there.  It's bad when Korea is the safer option for a Track Meet over London!

Cas Loxsom is nearly ready for his appearance at the World University Games in Eastern China.  Anyone who knows my story will urge him to not eat undercooked vegetables!

Via recent Tourney winner Coach Gondak and Assistant to the Laureate Larry Mangan, here's a link to Cas Loxsom's Flotrack blog.  

Thanks for the update guys, you make my job bringing PSU Track News to the masses easier. PSU is 800 U.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Early" Women's Team Reunites and Christens Mondo Surface

When the Men's Team Alumni get together from the 70's and 80's, they call us "Old".  But when the Women's Team from the same era get together, it's called "Early"!  Either way, it's good to see them getting together.  It's also a chance to invite all of them to our Annual Harry Groves Golf Tournament and soon-to-be expanded Reunion Weekend!  Details will be upcoming shortly following our phone conference among the doers and shakers of our group and Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan.  There are big things coming for everyone involved in the past or present PSU Track (and Field) and Cross-Country Programs.  That means every era of both Mens and Womens Teams.  Stay tuned.

Chris Bankes, Liz (Berry) Larsen and Kathy (Mills) Parker were among the dozen or so lucky people to take a lap on the newly resurfaced indoor track.  I still have not jogged on the track, old surface or new.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Man Vs. Sand (and Wind)

The 18th-in row Sea Isle City Beach Run yesterday was one of the toughest yet.  Not for me, of course, as I was the driver and spectator for the event.  Barb completed her 18th despite the worst conditions we have seen in those years.  I sipped a Black Cherry Wishniak while the 1500 runners toiled.

Times were more than 5:00 off last year's because of high winds.  It was rather warm also, hence the Philly classic soda.  I saw a few Penn State Club Team  runners but didn't get to say "hi".

The Streak lives on and the new shoes have worked out OK.  Which is good, as I may opt for a 24 hour "Buffet Pass" at the Atlantic City Hotels.  Living large...

Here's the start of the race.  Skip ahead 2 whole minutes, as there was quite a delay at the star as is usual here because of the narrow Promenade and 1,500 crazy runners all jockeying for a starting spot in the front row!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Idiot Officers Meeting and Catastrophe Averted

Next week there will be a phone conference with our humble group's top guns (Keeper of the Cup Harry Smith and Keeper of the Beer Clark Haley) firming up details of next year's Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney and Expanded Reunion!
  Your intrepid Herder of Cats will also tune in so I can report on the exciting details.  A major catastrophe (for me anyway!) was avoided yesterday at the Jersey Shore.  Either I forgot to bring my running shoes or Snooki stole them.  Either way, my Streak was threatened.  Luckily, my clogs contained an old pair of my running orthotics and a Nike Outlet was only minutes away.   A brisk 3 1/2 mile run on the Boardwalk kept the pitiful string of running days alive.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Humble Blog Garners Increasing Attention

It's a pleasure to have a friend in the entire Penn State Track and Field / Cross Country Program.  When the organizers of the Harry Groves Tournament convened in 2002, no one had any inkling that anything like it would ever occur.  Everyone wins, that's for sure.

Our humble group garnered a full page in the recent newsletter from the Team.  Three of the original members of the group are mentioned as winners of the 10th Annual Tourney; Founder Clark Haley, Paul "Ironbutt" Mundy and Steve "Finally" Shisler.  With them in the photo is curator of "PSU is 800 U" Coach John Gondak.

Also included was a photo of Coach Dr. John Lucas revealing his top moments from the last 50 years of the Olympics, all witnessed by himself!  For those interested, it was Billy Mills' come-from-behind victory in the 10,000 M race in Tokyo in 1964.  When I wrote to Mr. Mills to let him know about it he was quite pleased and sent us a nice note himself.

Check out the entire newsletter and sign up as a Friend of the Program at the link above.  Every little bit of enthusiasm and funds really does make a big difference.  Seeing PSU Track (and Field!) grow in stature each year is quite pleasurable; joining in yourself is even better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let's Swerve into the Culinary Arts Briefly With Elvis-Fried Chicken

 This sounds really good, and I even included a recipe adjustment link so you don't have to cook 30 chickens!  Have this for dinner after having had peanut butter and banana fried sandwiches for lunch and you'll have had a grand day.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Elvis Loved
*Google-sized portions; read all the way through to get the total amounts needed*
1/2 c thyme
1/4 c oregano
1/4 c basil
1/2 c onion powder
1/2 c garlic powder
1/2 c dry mustard
1/2 c paprika
1/4 c chili powder
1/2 c celery seed
2 Tbsp salt
1/2 c coriander
1/2 c cumin
1/3 c kosher salt
1/4 c cayenne pepper
1/2 c ground black pepper
1/4 c ground white pepper
3 gals. buttermilk
3 cases organic free range chicken (roughly 30 chickens, divided into 1.5- to 2-lb. sections)
Mix these amounts of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then whisk in the buttermilk until it's thoroughly mixed.
Pour the batter over the chickens and marinate for up to five days - keep refrigerated, of course.
For frying
Now mix another 4x the above dry ingredients, and add:
2 lbs. cornstarch
8 qts. all-purpose organic whole wheat flour
Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in the dry herbs/flour/cornstarch mixture mix.
Fry the dredged chicken in a large skillet with hot peanut oil @ 375 degrees. Once chicken has reached a golden brown color, finish cooking it in the oven.
 And here's a recipe for a "manly drink" from The Man (Ernest Hemingway) himself to go with the Elvis Presley Fried Chicken. I prefer Mountain Dew, however.

Monday, August 1, 2011

PSU Track Student/Athletes Excel

We always try to accentuate off-the-field excellence here at The Blog, and there is no better chance than with the past academic year.  Jess Riden brings us the news of the current crop of student/athlete's achievements.
  • 51 Track athletes had GPA's higher than 3.0
  • Both the Men's and Women's Teams had overall GPA's above 3.0
  • 6 athletes had GPA's of 4.0  ( Megan Boyer, Candace Carson, Markea Dickinson, Kalin Fisher, Chris Cipro, Blake Eaton)
*Photos not representative of any current PSU student/athlete.  Glasses optional. Pocket protector required.
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