Friday, December 30, 2016

Previous Performance of the Year Winners

Don't forget to vote in this year's version of the Performance of the Year Poll on the left side of the full web site!

This marks the 6th year of the poll.  I'm not sure why it took me 3 years until I started doing it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Performance Of The Year Poll

The final 9 are here!  Please vote for your Top 3 overall performances on the left sidebar.

  1. Brannon Kidder - Athlete of the Meet Penn Relays.
  2. Rob and Phoebe Whiteside Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail.
  3. Joe Kovacs win the Silver Medal in the Shot Put at the Rio Olympics.
  4. Isaiah Harris wears his PSU Track Alumni Wrist Band to place 6th in the NCAA Outdoor 800M.
  5. Brannon Kidder sets the Indoor 1000M Collegiate (NCAA) Record.
  6. Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill both make the Rio Olympic team in the Shot Put.
  7. Womens Team wins the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Cross Country Regional Meet.
  8. Pre-Olympics Diamond League Overall Winner in the Shot Put - Joe Kovacs.
  9. Isaiah Harris sets the School Record in winning the Big Ten 800M title.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Bet He Can Skate Better Than I Too

I would have been a pretty good hockey player in my day, if I had only learned to skate properly.  

Joe Kovacs was lauded at the recent Lehigh Valley Phantoms game, and presented with a jersey of his very own.  But I would bet that the prize he is really after is Performance of the Year in our Annual contest.  Be sure to vote for the last Semi-Final before the Final 9 are announced! Only 1 day remains.

Addendum:  For the first time in our history, the page views surpassed 17,000 in the last month. (That's more than 560 each day for you math majors!)  Thank you for your blog support and keep spreading the news!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Traditional Christmas

Well, if tradition is defined by the past dozen or so years!

Every single one of these family traditions are probably from the mind of Partner the Better, but no one is complaining around this house.  Mind you, the religious significance of the event is not forgotten, although the church service chosen varies from year to year.  For some reason, this year we chose the most densely packed Christmas Eve 4:00 PM Mass.  The fifth year in a row that I have stood for the entire service.  Ho Ho Ho!  For anyone inquisitive about the best times for Mass at a Roman Catholic Church for Christmas, it's the earliest service on Christmas Day itself.  You will always get a seat then!

First up in our secular world of Christmas is the annual trip to Sheetz for free coffee.  I am abstaining this year to enjoy a Mountain Dew or two instead.  There is room for change in our tradition!

Next, the incredibly sized potful of creamed chipped beef on toast (SOS in military terms).  The ceremonial buying of the finest in dried beef occurs on Market Day closest to the day of days. Butchers compete in earnest to attract our 1 1/2 pound purchase. This year's award winner was Godfrey Bros. Meats. When completed with toasted English Muffins instead of toast, it is guaranteed to fill everyone up.  And trigger somnolence and lactose intolerance for me for the rest of the day!

A minimum of family gifts is exchanged either before or after the Breakfast of Champions, also depending on church times.  I don't think I have received a real gift in 5 years.  The reason for the season means I don't mind.  Besides, I know I will be getting just one present later on in the day...

Next up is a chance to jog on the treadmill while watching the continually running A Christmas Story on TBS.  This run is notorious for its slothfulness and discomfort, (see SOS from above).  Distance varies from the minimum 1 mile required for "streaking" and the 3 miles I promised my knee surgeon.

Most years, a nap can be had, as long as you sneak away and let no one know what you are doing. Or outright lie about it.  I don't know how Joseph and Mary would feel about this lie.  I'm pretty sure that at least Joseph would be on my side.

Some years, when Partner the Better loses her mind, we make a dinner and invite family members and others to help celebrate the season.  This is always met with, "it isn't that big a deal" and ends with all-day activities involving hundreds.  I'm also sure that Joseph would probably be rolling his eyes with me on this one.  Today's feast includes a rib-eye roast and a spiral-cut ham both purchased from Aldi's.

The last, and certainly the coolest tradition is the final one.  Bowling for Jesus is a family tradition that has taken the town by storm.  Well, every year there are more and more lanes occupied next to us, anyway. 

Everyone invited buys a present worth relatively the same amount (currently $50 or so) and brings it unwrapped to the Bowling Alley.  (Always open because the adjoining bar is open for football fan clubs.)  All prizes are placed on tables for perusal by the combatants.  And then two games of usually rather poor examples are bowled by everyone.  The totals are added up and the winner gets his (or her!) choice of prizes.  The process continues until all the bowlers have their prize. Then the non-bowlers present randomly get to choose from the stack.  No one is left unsatisfied, as everything is of equal value. 

On those years that a dinner is not on the schedule, pizza and bar food suffices.  This ensures that no one has to clean up their house or cook anything extravagant on the Big Day.

Feel free to adopt any of our family traditions.  You can even join us if you wish. Merry Christmas

  UPDATE: This year my fourth place finish netted me an Amazon Echo Dot and Bluetooth speaker. Not really sure what any of that means?  I was notably beaten like a rented mule by Daughter the Younger, while Daughter the Elder's hand has healed enough to almost beat me too!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Third And Last Semi-Final For Performance Of The Year: Please Vote For Your Top 3

Head on over to the most viewed Track/Physics/Golf web site in the world to vote for your top 3 in the last of the Semi-Finals for the 2016 Performance of the Year!  All performances submitted during the year were randomly placed in the Semi-Finals by our crack staff of Interns.  And Coach Groves is disappointed in the number of votes so far!  Step it up, people.

  1. Womens team winning the NCAA Cross Country Regional meet.
  2. Olympic Silver Medal for Joe Kovacs.
  3. Brannon Kidder, 4th at the NCAA 1500M.
  4. Isaiah Harris, 4th at the NCAA Outdoor 800M.
  5. Brian Leap's Big Ten title in the Triple Jump.
  6. Tori Gerlach and Tessa Barrett, 2nd and 3rd in the Indoor Big Ten 3000M and 5000M.
  7. Brannon Kidder, American Indoor 1000M Collegiate (NCAA) Record.
  8. Isaiah Harris, Big Ten title in 800M as Freshman.
  9. Isaiah Harris/Brannon Kidder both with opening meet 1:46 800M times.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas From Coach Groves And Cousin Eddie

Coach Groves wishes us all a Merry Christmas from State College.  He is wearing his new t-shirt, hat, and jacket supplied by Terry Losch from Rapid Transit.

And Cousin Eddie has paid us a visit to spread his own brand of Christmas cheerGet your own Cousin Eddie In The Morning Outfit!

Be sure to go to the full web site, and vote in the second round of the Performance of the Year on the left sidebar.  Vote for your top 3, as 3 will make it into the Final Round. Only 1 day before the 3rd Semi-Final appears.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas, And A Few Things Coach Groves Taught Me

Don't forget to vote in the second Semi-Final for the Performance of the Year 2016!  You must visit the full web site and vote for 3 on the left sidebar!

Here'a a scene from many people's favorite Christmas Movie. It was a mild flop when it first opened, but gathered steam fairly well in the years since.  This scene stars Sheldon Leonard (for whom the two main characters on Big Bang Theory are named) better known as an influential television producer in the years after.

"Look at me, I'm handing out wings!"

Some Things Coach Groves taught me:

  •  "Athletics is for education and recreation, nothing else. Winning is important only in that you learn more." During an interview with him at the Alumni Run.
  • "Keep the damn window closed." Told to every one of his charges at one time or another.
  • Don't call him Harry unless he says you can. I still don't anyway.
  • "... for a brief time, I'm the greatest Track Coach in the world."  This was said by him only in acknowledging all the great things said about him at his retirement dinner.  He was paraphrasing a speech he saw Jesse Owens once give.
  • "Sometimes, hard work is your only reward."  Told to me following a seeming failure of mine in my Sophomore year.
  • "You must do something about the cheating."  Following the 2009 Golf Tourney where he golfed with every foursome for 2 holes.
  • "You just don't f*** with a f*****."  This has been misconstrued by everyone since I purposely placed it on the blog.  The "f****** involved was Coach Groves himself, and he was commending both Tim Backenstose and myself for never f****** with him.  And I never have.
  • "The most important part of the course is the part just after the big hill."
  • (Insert your own in the comments below or via our Facebook site.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Second Semi-Final Of The Performance Of The Year 2016!

Be sure to go to the full web site, and vote in the second round of the Performance of the Year on the left sidebar.  Vote for your top 3, as 3 will make it into the Final Round.

  1.  Tessa Barrett wins the Regional NCAA XC Meet.
  2.  Isaiah Harris wins the 800M at the NACAC Meet.
  3.  Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill both make the Olympic team.
  4.  Brannon Kidder's 9th Big Ten Title (1500M)
  5.  Mark Parker joins the Disney Board of Directors.
  6.  Rob and Phoebe Whiteside thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.
  7.  Cas Loxsom and Isaiah Harris both in the Finals of the Olympic Trials 800M. 
  8.  Isaiah Harris wearing our Group Wrist Band and finishing 6th at Olympic Trial 800M. 
  9.  Brannon Kidder 4th in the NCAA 1500M.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Is The Beer Mile Going To Jump The Shark Quickly?

Be sure to vote in the first Semi-Final of the Performance of the Year on the left sidebar of the full web-site! Only 1 day left before the second  Semi-Final appears!! We need more votes!

The event went from a hush-hush underground event to a sponsored professional tour in just a few years.  Now there are even special shoes designed for the event!

WR holder Corey Bellemore, second from left. 4:34!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Lot Of Us Hope This Is True

Be sure to vote in the first Semi-Final of the Performance of the Year on the left sidebar of the full web-site! Only 2 days left before the second  Semi-Final appears!!

I have met a few people in my 41 year running "career" that definitely don't support this theory.  But since the exception usually proves the rule, maybe it's true?

 And there is still more info on the Feynman Technique for learning anything.  And nobody qualifies more as a "Thinking Person" than the great man himself!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Holiday Season Includes Happy Cat Herders Day! Who Knew?

 Be sure to vote in the first Semi-Final of the Performance of the Year on the left sidebar of the full web-site! 3 days left before the second appears!!
Someone sent me a link the other day to wish me a Happy Cat Herders Day!  Thanks!
Randy Moore originally coined the moniker for my efforts to entice all Penn State Track and Field Alumni to the Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney created by Clark Haley in 2002.  And it is certainly an apt title.  Here's to hoping all of you help entice others to this year's event held in conjunction with the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
 And following the holidays, my movie will be available in DVD format!  Get your copy at Walmart.  Or you can order a copy via Amazon now.  Be sure to look for my first appearance ever on the Big Silver Screen in the credits at the end!
PLAN 9 releases on physical media! The long awaited day has finally come. Plan 9 will be released JAN 5th, 2017 in 2600 Walmart stores. But if you wanna get it early Amazon has it available NOW!!!

The Disc will be loaded with extra features including…

• Commentary Track - Director and cast discuss the film.
• Criswell Predicts. 5 Episodes of a web series that leads up to the first scene of the film.
• Plan 9: Super 8 - DP shots behind the scenes on a Super 8 camera
• Film Competition - Two shorts hosted by the real John Johnson.
Teaser Trailer - shot two years before the film was made.Be sure to look for 800U's very own Steve Black in this Teaser Trailer!
• Bloopers & Outtakes
• Mini Doc - short interviews with the cast from the film.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Performance Of The Year Semifinal 1 (of 3)

Yes, it's that time of year again.  Be sure to go to the full web-site and vote in the poll at the top of the left sidebar.  Vote for your top 3 in each Semi-Final.  Three from each will advance to the Finals.

These performances are randomly selected from all the submissions during the year on the right sidebar.  There is still more opportunity to submit more items to be included in the other 2 Semi-Finals.

  1. Ron Moore's victory at the 100K Firecracker Ultra.
  2. Isaiah Harris's school record and Big Ten Championship in Outdoor 800M.
  3. Pre-Olympics Diamond League win by Joe Kovacs.
  4. Brannon Kidder, Athlete of the Year at Penn Relays.
  5. Bridget Franek making her 2nd 3000M Steeplechase Final at Olympic Trials.
  6. Brian Leap, 6th at NCAA Triple Jump 52' 11".
  7. Darrell Hill drafted into the Tracktown League by the Philadelphia team.
  8. Tessa Barrett's dominance at the Spiked Shoe Inv. XC and USTFCCA Athlete of the week.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Now I Know What I Want For Christmas

The big day is rapidly approaching, and I think I will revert to childhood and see if I can get a couple of toys for presents.  Us old-timers remember the days when we rifled through the Sears or JC Penneys catalog for ideas on our Christmas lists.  Now JC Penneys is barely limping along and Sears is about to bite the dust completely.

But the spirit of the catalogs lives on, at least on the internet of today, although it is muted by vast amounts of worthless material hogging most of the bandwidth.  I found this new LEGO set is about to be added to the annals to go with the already available Big Bang Theory set!  LINK FIXED

And don't sit in Sheldon's spot!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Stolen Photos From The Blue/White Scrimmage

Either the Blue beat the White, or the White beat the Blue.  I'm not sure which.  And everyone ran weird distances in bizarre shirts.  The only consistent thing was Owen Dawson rabbiting many events and rocking the Alumni Singlet! All photos were stolen from our great friend Bob Trump.

Michael Slagowski's debut on the Ashenfelter Track.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

AND The Story Goes He Once Blew Up Coach Groves' Mailbox*

Penn State Track and Field Alumni Golfer Tom Kleban continues to make track and field better, both at the high school and college level.  The former decathlete gives a perspective to the sport that almost no one else can. 

Now he is a star of Town and Gown, my wife's go-to State College reference. 

* Coach Groves once told me that the Kleban brothers, Tom and Rick, lived in his neighborhood as kids and once blew up his mailbox with firecrackers as a Halloween prank.  The Interns have been unable to verify this claim.

Friday, December 9, 2016

More Old-Time Goodness From The Garage Museum Of Mike Fanelli

I have bumped into the Fanelli family many times throughout my running "career".  Our paths even crossed a few times, although I have never met Mike face to face.  I have met Gary Sr., and even purchased bee pollen from him back in the late 70s at a road race or two.

Since I have become a certified, professional Movie Producer (Go ahead and look me up on IMDb!), my next project has been rolling around in my head for 2 years now.  It is a rip-off of the current hit and my favorite TV show, The Goldbergs.  I figure we could simply switch the "1980-something" catch phrase to "1970-something" and use the same suburban Philly motif and locations many of us are familiar with.  Work in running in all its forms and the episodes would practically write themselves.  The Fanelli family would literally become America's Running Royalty, and take us to many places where we would all smile ear to ear.  Like I have said many times, I am just an idea person.  I will put the Interns on the case to make something happen!

Anyhoo, here's the latest submission from Mike Fanelli that highlights PSU and my idol, who would certainly be offered a guest spot on my show, The Fanellis.

Steve Prefontaine, Donal Walsh, Don Kardong, Greg Fredericks, John Bednarski.

Notice that a certain "good" runner in Marty Liquori didn't make the podium and Mark Covert of Running Streak fame was a high finisher on the William and Mary course.

Also, that jacket with the old-school lion  probably still fits Greg.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Throwback Thursday Tribute To Al Porto

The Interns finally woke up today and got to work on the question of when Al Porto (1950 NCAA Championship team member mentioned in comments to the last post) won our longest drive contest!  Turns out it was the 2013 Coach Groves Golf Tournament, the same one where Happy Gilmore made an appearance! (Now the Interns want an upgrade to the ObamaCare Gold Plan when I can't even afford the Silver Plan for myself, and the Bronze Plan has been banned by the State of Pennsylvania as Cruel and Unusual.)

Ryan Foster, Larry Mangan, Al Porto and Steve Balkey. Photo by Mark Hawkins.
Three of the four were/are PSU 1500M/Mile Record Holders and the fourth happened to be an NCAA Cross Country Champion in 1949 and 1950  And let's not forget that Al Porto happens to have won the Longest Drive competition in our Golf Tournament.

A fifth member of the group showed up at one point.  Happy Gilmore made his appearance and impressed the group with a trademark running shot.  No word on who he later punched.

Happy Gilmore. Photo by Mark Hawkins.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A New Officer, A Look Back And Just A Peek Forward

We haven't had a new Officer installed in a little while and I came across this pic online...

This is Mercedes and Teddy Quinn's new dog, an adopted Jack Russell terrier (or as they will learn, terror!) named Bo (I think!).  Seeing as Teddy is our group's Director of Fun, Bo is now our Ambassador of Fun!  There is never a dull moment with a Jack.  I look forward to this year's head-to-head match-up of Bo and my Jack Spott in the basketball bracket fiasco!

The Fanelli family from Jenkintown, PA is as close as America comes to Track and Field royalty.  Mike brings us this great PSU tidbit from the last team championship for the Lions!

And coming soon will be more from the Fanellis AND one of our own Olympians when I reintroduce our 10 Questions feature (give or take a few!)

Monday, December 5, 2016

98 Is The New 60

"All I got was a plaque."
-Michael Delligatti.

Instead of reading the obituaries of 60 year-old men way too often, it was great to see the odes to two giants of the food industry at the ripe age of 98.

Two 98 year old creators of dishes that the Center for Science in the Public Interest called "heart attacks on a plate".  But then the CSPI advocates dishes like kale salad and tofu turkey, the kind of dishes no family gathered around with smiles on their faces.

Chef Peng Chang-kuei passed away in Taiwan. In 1952 he created General Tso's Chicken, a dish that attracted fans like Henry Kissinger and much of the West.  Although General Tso was a real Chinese leader, mainland China doesn't really know anything about the dish.  I'm happy we can keep it to ourselves.

Inventor of General Tso's chicken

And Pittsburgher Michael James Delligatti also passed away at the age of 98. He invented the McDonald's Big Mac in 1967.  The keys were the two patties of beef, the center slice of bread and his "special sauce".

Creator of the Big Mac

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Little Engine That Could

I only made it to halftime, and gave up on them AGAIN.  Every single prediction I have made about this team has been wrong.  And I haven't seen 3/4 of their offensive production because I have either given up or fallen asleep during all the 8:00PM games, and maybe even some of the 3:30PM games.

I will let Major Payne explain what the Penn State Nittany Lion  team is all about...

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Our Members Flood Into Indianapolis

Today marks the first time PSU is represented in the Big Ten Football Championship Game in Indianapolis, and our Group will be well represented there.

Included in the fans urging on a Nittany Lion victory will include Vivian Riddick, Larry Mangan, Paul Souza, Don Skerpon and Harry Smith.  Any others?

I am happy to hear of the enthusiasm for the team, even though I will probably nod off during the first quarter of action.  I will await more photos from the middle of the country!

Larry Mangan and Paul Souza BEFORE the tailgate!

Friday, December 2, 2016

More Phil Bephore Track Season

As the current team works out in preparation of the upcoming season, and the recruiting of future athletes continues to restock the team with more and more talent, I am left with a collection of submissions to fill my posts.  But they are all good ones!

  •  The new rule on entries to a NCAA track meet are horrendously written, and thankfully delayed for a year now.  Read up on how horrible the rules committee screwed this one up.  As I have said before, any four of us could do better in a hotel room with a keg of beer over a weekend.
  • I have told you many times that running does not injure your knees.  That is still true, even though this article is merely feel-good clickbait...
  • How many times does this have to happen until authorities in our sport finally figures out how to handle it appropriately?  Good people doing good things do not need punishment.
  • Everyone knows I do not take golf seriously (if at all!), but that doesn't mean others don't.  For the record, I know the rules, I just don't follow them...
  • I'm still ahead of this guy, even with his new world record. But not by much!
  • We should not put much stock in anecdotal science.  And will Nike sends some goons to Britain to retaliate?  Are your running shoes conspiring against you?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Phun With Physics Bephore The Phabulous Indoor Track Season

There's a lull in the action after Cross Country as the troops train and prepare for the Indoor Track Season.  And it's too darn cold to hit the Links.  So, what can a Track/Golf/Physics Blog do about that?

How about I put a post up with Physics topics that my hundreds of readers (12,000 page hits last month!!!) send me for possible inclusion!  Sounds good to me.  Put your thinking caps on, and not the tin-foil hats all of us have been wearing throughout this election season!

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