The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sunday Evening Decathlete

What did we learn this week?

I don't know anything.  I didn't think the 5k American Record was going to be broken at the Diamond League meet in Oslo, and if it did I didn't think Bernard Lagat had it in him.  Wrong.  I thought Carmelita Jeter would beat LaShauntea Moore in the 200 meters at the same meet.  Wrong again.

About that Oslo meet... David Lekuta Rudisha kicks ass.  21 years old, ran 1:42.01 on Friday, and the season is just getting started.  Abubaker Kaki was supposed to be the new star in the 800 meters two years ago, but Rudisha is the man now.

The NCAA Championships at Oregon will be well attended. Yeah, we already knew that in general.  But in particular, the number of tickets sold already exceeds the NCAA attendance record.  Two years ago, Drake brought in 41,187 over the four days (despite half of Des Moines being under water) to break the old attendance record by over 6,000. reports that only 4,675 tickets remain unsold for this week's championships, and since Hayward Field's seating has been expanded to "about 12,000", that means somewhere in the range of 42,000 to 43,000  tickets have already been sold.

State track meets are well attended.  Again, we already knew this, but here's a new example.  Yesterday's Ohio championships, which is three separate divisional championships held in succession, twice required an evacuation of the stands due to lightning.  The heavy rain that came with it made sitting in the stands less than ideal.  But here's the crowd later in the day:
and that doesn't show the backstretch or the mass of people standing at track-level around the first turn.  There had to be at least 8,000 people in the stadium right then.  Any college, even Oregon, would be tremendously happy to have such a crowd in bad weather. Most would be ecstatic to have it in any weather; Arkansas didn't have this many for the final day of last year's NCAA championships.

Small towns are the best places for sports.  Example #1:  A college teammate of mine has been coaching at his alma mater, a well-off Toledo suburban high school, but unfortunately was forced out last fall (through no fault of his own, I should add).  Yesterday he told me he got a new job as assistant track coach and cross country coach at the high school in Delta (population 2,930), a rural town about 15 miles outside the western edge of the Toledo suburbs.  He will be formally introduced to the community at a public event this week, a la Norman Dale in Hoosiers.  For cross country!

Sometimes it seems like someone is looking out for you, but you wonder why it's you.  I dawdled going home from yesterday's state championships, spending an hour at my sister-in-law's house before getting on the road for the 2+ hour drive.  If I hadn't, I would have driven through this:
MILLBURY, Ohio – A tornado unleashed a "war zone" of destruction in northwest Ohio, destroying dozens of homes and an emergency services building as a line of storms killed at least seven people ...But most of the worst was reserved for a 100-yard-wide, 7-mile-long strip southeast of Toledo now littered with wrecked vehicles, splintered wood and family possessions.
In two weeks I was supposed to manage a low-key track meet at Lake High School in Millbury. School officials haven't gotten back to me, as I'm fairly low on their priority list right now, but I assume the meet is off.
The tornado ripped the roof and back wall off Lake High School's gymnasium about 11 p.m. Saturday, several hours before the graduation ceremony was supposed to begin there.
...Two buses were tossed on their sides and another was thrown about 50 yards, landing on its top near the high school's football field. More than 10 hours later, its right turn signal was still blinking.
...One of the victims was the father of Lake High School's valedictorian, said Tim Krugh, president of the school district's board...Neighbors said the house of the valedictorian's family was destroyed, and all that was left was a basement filled with water.
This is not dangerous-weather territory. No hurricanes, tsunamis, mudslides, wildfires, flash floods, or earthquakes. It isn't "tornado alley", either, but once every 20 or 30 years we get something that reminds us of the frailty of human life.

No comments: