The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Track Needs a Fan Club

One of the more interesting Twitterers to follow is the British Athletic Supporters Club (@BASCSupporters).  They're the track fan club in the UK and no, I don't think they have any idea what their name might mean in the USA.  Right now they have a group in Barcelona cheering on their national team at the European Championships.

I remember when I was a young geek and I joined Weird Al Yankovic's fan club, "The Close Personal Friends of Al".  These days official fan clubs seem a bit dated; the club above is fifty years old.  Still, we have nothing even remotely resembling a fan club in the USA.  In this day and age we have Twitter and Facebook and blogs and all that.  But we in the USA have no organizational structure specifically for fans, and when our needs are met it seems a secondary effort at best from the national office.

When you join USATF, you are asked to identify yourself as an athlete, a coach, an official or an administrator.  "Fan" is not an option.  And why not?  There are plenty of membership perks for the fan: discounts on Track and Field News, tickets to USATF events, hotels, rental cars, and the USATF store.  The recent USATF Championships had a VIP tent for members. And, most importantly, the very existence of modern post-collegiate track and field requires a fan base.

If there was a "fan" membership option, then there would have to be representation within USATF for the fan constituency.  Imagine how things might be different such a thing came to pass.

In the absence of such support, though, you can look here for all your armchair decathlete needs.

What's on today
The European Championships continue in Barcelona.  Key finals today are the first day of the decathlon, the women's discus, long jump and 10k, and the men's hammer and 100 meters.
Championships homepage
Live results
Live updates
Live webcast
Special Track and Field News discussion forum

Today the African Championships begin in Nairobi.  The key final is the men's 10,000 meters, which should be a great race.
Previews from the IAAF and SuperSport
Facebook page

The Canadian Championships get started today at Toronto's Varsity Centre with qualifying rounds and the multis.  The championships are run in an interesting fashion in that athletes who have met a qualifying standard will bypass the early rounds and go straight to the semis (in the sprints) or finals (in the distance and field events).
Championships home page

Track on TV
Diamond League Paris rerun, 5 PM on Universal Sports
Big Ten Outdoor Championships rerun, 2 PM and 5 AM on Big Ten Network
Bud Greenspan Presents: Beijing 2008 - America's Olympic Glory, 1 and 8 PM on Showtime Extreme

Other links
Runner's World Racing News has all the headlines
Let's Run's weekly recap
The buzz in the English-speaking countries is yesterday's UK 1-2 finish in the Euro 10k -- reactions from Britain's Athletics Weekly magazine and the BBC
AW rounds up today's morning action at the European Championships
The Jamaica Gleaner says their country's future is in good hands
A feature on the Finley family of top throwers
An interesting article on the Canadian Athletes Now fund, which distributes money to Canadian Olympians and is opposed by the Canadian Olympic Committee
Sammy Wanjiru not doing so well?

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