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...

Sunday, September 27, 2020

(3 Times) Around The World In 80 (+16,398) Days


It took me a lot longer than Phileas Fogg did in the 1956 movie and the two most recent remakes of Jules Verne's classic 1873 novel. It was a loose goal of mine from undergraduate days while in a statistics class. I had figured the chances of making it 4 times around the world somewhat remote. And I am probably correct with that...

But 25,000 miles x 3 seemed realistic and worth running, jogging and now slogging toward. (Actually it's 24,902 x 3 = 74,706 miles.)  

There are some in our Universe with more, even if they never kept track (the sane among us!) In the lead is coach John Lucas with more than 160,000 miles If I am wrong, let me know.

So, the statistics for me:

  • 75,001.25 miles in 16,478 days
  • 4.55 miles per day since June 1975, when I started keeping track. There were probably 2,000 miles before that do not count.
  • With 90.14% of days run, that's 5.05 miles per days run.
  • Longest run in one day was 40 miles.  Longest continual run was 35 miles.
  • Longest streak of days with at least one mile run is 2,022 days (5.6 years)
  • Longest streak with no run is 42 days (fibular neck fracture)
  • Best race (according to IAAF (World Athletics) points is 10 miles in 51:11 in 1977 with 1978 Johnston road 10K in 30:47 second, and 1980 PSU Track 10K in 30:54  third. (891 points, 889 points and 888 points)

Saturday, September 12, 2020

They Are Getting Way Too Close For Comfort

Since way before the current Pandemic, I have been lamenting the loss of Track and field Programs across the country.  West Virginia, Millersville, Bowling Green and Maryland (reversed for Outdoor) only started the trend.  Recent additions of William and Mary and Akron added a second layer.  Now, the Pandemic has given administrators another reason to eliminate more Programs.


Bob Hamer sums up the situation with superb insight:

There is so much to cover in all of this and where it has gone wrong but it begins and ends with football. 

ADs and universities realized years ago that the big time money was in football. Yes the NCAA BB tourney makes a billion dollars but you share that with every DI school. Football is not controlled by the NCAA. Conferences control their media rights and make a ton of money off of these rights. There was a scramble to chase these big payouts which led to conference realignment years ago.  The BIG media rights payout was supposed to be $52 million in 2021. Not certain how that will play out this year due to COVID but rational thinking would lead to believe it would be less. This is why other conferences are playing football right now. Money. Rutgers faces a ton of criticism in NJ for being in the BIG and spending the money they spend. Who is laughing now when they get $52 million from the BIG. They won the lottery due to their cable TV footprint and eyeballs. UConn sold their soul for football and they were left at the altar by the ACC and now they are left with a football team with no conference and they had to grovel to rejoin the Big East. They also cut sports this summer as a result. 

Here are the projections for future years for the media rights payouts for the BIG

2024  almost $70 million
2029  $89 million

Let's apply this to Minnesota. In 3 years they are expected to get $18 million more per year in media rights and then $38 million more per year in 8 years. They cut 4 sports to save $2.7 million per year. And to continue to invest heavily in football because they are experiencing a huge resurgence under Coach Fleck. 

College athletics has changed drastically in the last 10-15 years. As schools are investing in football, they are also investing heavily in other non revenue sports. Eventually the model of supporting 25-30 sports at this level is non sustainable. They have palatial locker rooms, incredible facilities, flying all over the country for competition, snack stations, stipends, etc. All of this is great for the non revenue sports except that they do not generate the money to sustain it. If you do it for football, you need to provide for others as well. At some point something has to give. The pandemic has accelerated that. If ADs wanted, they could try to figure it out. Yes , they are faced with really tough decisions during these challenging times. In my opinion, the pandemic has given them the cover to eliminate sports which will make it easier down the road to provide for the other sports to compete at their desired level. 

I was angered in the early 1990s when men's XC/TF teams were being cut for Title IX reasons and I am still angry today by these cuts whether it is Title IX or budgetary. The opportunity to compete at the college level was an invaluable experience for all of us. It has connected us for a lifetime. It established long term friendships and incredible memories. It was the moments that we spent together on some crazy long run up the mountains, driving in the van with Coach, hanging in the dining hall unpacking the crazy workout we just completed, celebrating the highs and helping each other through the difficult lows, and just hanging out and experiencing college life. This is what made it special. My heart breaks for the athletes that have had this taken away or for the many others who will never get that experience because the opportunity will not exist anymore. 

If it can happen at William & Mary and Minnesota, it can happen anywhere. 

Support your program. Rally around it all the time. It gave you so much. Make sure that you give it something back. 

We Are!


As always, there is blowback coming, and you can help add to the noise!

Sign The Petition!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Toad Interviews The Hat


Although it has appeared on the Facebook Page before, I wanted to feature The Undersecretary of Fun's epic interview with Dave Wottle on the blog itself.  I wanted to interview him previously and even made him, teammate Sid Sink and Evgeni Arkhonov honorary members of 800U.  All of them accepted.  The difference between Billy Cvecko and I is that Billy always follows up on his ideas.  His dogged determination is another feature I admire.


Here are some links to previous posts featuring all of the key figures:

Sid Sink Also Wore A Hat

Yevgeni Arzhanov Joins 800U

Greg Fredericks Sorta Kinda Helped Dave Wottle Tune Up 

More From Yevgeni Arzhanov

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Yesterday Was The Anniversary Of The First Spot's Demise

 So I figured I would post an old post as a tribute to him...

Ten More Things I Learned in More Than 50 Years (Which I Learned From My Dog Spot)

I miss the little fellow.  He was a stray that we adopted into our zoo after he had roamed the streets for a number of years.  It took me 2 years until I could pick him up.  He had more fight in his 5 pounds than most football teams do in the NFL.  We have no idea how old he was, but it must have been ancient.  With his age came wisdom beyond his years and species.

  1. Running in circles for the sake of running in circles is pleasurable most times.
  2. Having one good meal and a bed of your own is really all you need most times.
  3. Having friends around, even if they steal some of your food, is still worth it.
  4. Barking for the sake of barking is pleasurable most times.
  5. Always listen to "the big dog".
  6. Work is a four-letter word ending with the letter kNap is much easier. And it ends with a pee.
  7. All trips to the doctor should end with a treat.
  8. Never give up, never give up.
  9. People are mostly good, but occasionally not. Trust, but verify.
  10. Never eat the tinsel on a Christmas tree.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Time For Some New Running Gear!

Former roommate and multiple Golf Tourney Champion, Doug Kent sends us this wonderful pic of the 1985 Penn Relays Championship of the World America (just gloating a little there) victory lap displayed at a running store in Suburban Philly. Stop by and give them some business!

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