Wednesday, March 25, 2015

v 5 n 24 The First Once Upon a Time the Vest Issue (Collector's Edition)

While going through the attic of my computer,  I found the first trace of what has now become a world wide read blog about track and field.   In 2009, I was doing another blog called Sooner Tracks about my Oklahoma Sooners of the 1950's and 1960's.   My friend Roy Mason on a lark sent me the piece below which I put onto that Sooner Tracks.   It had a number of favorable comments from those Okie readers and thus the Once Upon a Time in the Vest  was born.  I had no idea how to set up a blog.   My cousin living in Hawaii had been putting together Sooner Tracks for me, but I didn't want to get her bogged down with a second blog.  So I looked up on the Google site how to set up a blog using their format.  
You can see this entry and the old Sooner tracks on this URL: 


 http://oonka.com/ou/clippingstrackandfield.html



The Birth of Once Upon a Time in the Vest

In this series of short articles,  a friend Roy Mason from Ukiah CA has summarized gleanings from Track and Field News from about 1952 to 1970.   Roy is an astute observer of our sport, has attended many national championships, and has an encyclopedic memory and eye for detail in the world of track and field and some other fields which I will not detail.  He found a stack of old Track and Field News issues when cleaning out a store room and has immersed himself in the past and sends on these commentaries.
SEPTEMBER 1952
Gaston Reiff sets a WR  8:40.4 in the 2M
Strandi of Norway becomes the first 200’ hammer thrower with 200-11
OCTOBER 1952
Emil Zatopek breaks the 30K record by 3 ½ minutes with 1:35.23.8.  (Had he been able to continue at that pace for another 12,195 meters he would have run a 2:14:11 marathon.)  He also has the fastest 5 and 10K times, 14:06.4 and 29:17.0
The triple jump is the hop, step and jump
The recently departed Ollie Matson has the seventh fastest 400, 46.6n
Track guys were “thinclads”  
The top 1500 time was 3:43.0 by Werner Lueg of Germany.  Using the conversion of 17 seconds to make a mile, maybe he could have been the first four minute miler.  He probably never ran one.
Only six jumpers in the world bettered 6’8”
The 16th best shot put on the world list was…….52-10.
 Lengthy features on Harrison Dillard (Baldwin-Wallace gym so small that he could only practice out of the blocks over one hurdle) and Josy Barthel of Luxembourg (won 26 of 27 races between 800 and 2000 – what middle distance runner races 27 times now? – and “lost 22 lbs during the season”).

SEPTEMBER 1953
 Three world records:  Fortune Gordien, the holder of 16 of the longest 18 discus throws in history nails 194-6, breaking his month old 190-7½.  This is described as “history’s greatest track and field achievement” based on the IAAF tables which had it superior to a 3:55.9 mile, 27 foot broad jump and a seven foot high jump.  All this at an all comers meet in Pasadena….
Yuriy Litytev of the USSR takes down Glenn Hardin’s WR of 50.6 set in 1934 with a 50.4 in a dual meet with Hungary….
Andun Boysen runs 1000 meters in 2:20.4 beating Mal Whitfield’s 2:20.8 set earlier in the summer.  Had he been able to continue at that pace for another 500 meters, he would have run a 3:30.6 1500.  But then that’s just crazy talk.
The top milers are some guys named Bannister, Santee and Landy with marks of 4:02.0, 4:02.4 and 4:02.8
Walter Davis, the Olympic champion and world record holder at 6-11 5/8, a height 1¾” better than anyone else this year, retires from the sport by signing a professional basketball contract with the Philadelphia Warriors. 
As this particular issue has the autograph of Paul David Kamanski in the upper right hand corner, I’ll take a moment to explain his significance, both to the sport and to the state of Ohio.  Dave was the coach at Bellflower High 15 years before I was.  It was he who told me where the old copies of T&FNews were stored in an attic storeroom above the coaches’ office.  He coached my lifelong friend, Buddy Cox.  When I coached at Bellflower, Dave was just down the road at Cerritos College where he coached track and XC.  Dave was a personable guy, a man’s man, a guy who always had time to talk.  When Cerritos was installing a new all weather track, Dave asked if he could bring is new transfer sprinter over to work out on our track.  It was Houston McTear who had burned a few bridges behind him.  The guy didn’t last long at Cerritos which I think was his last stop.  Something about attending classes.  
Not that class attendance was a major obstacle for Dave.  Eric and I once had a kid who had super potential on the track, but not in the classroom.  He had run 52.0 without training, but dropped out to take a $3/hr. janitorial job his senior year.  Dave got him enrolled at Cerritos and assured me grades would not be a problem, “He’ll be taking 10 credits of Kamanski” – volleyball, wrestling, handball, principles of officiating.  The kid enrolled each spring and ran 51+ for the intermediates and 47.0 on a relay leg.
Here is the Ohio connection.  Dave was best known for being one of the top referees in D-1 football.  It was common to see him doing PAC-10 games most weekends.  He was also the referee for four Rose Bowl games.  (One of our rituals was asking him what time it was.  “Well, let me check.”  Elaborate extension of his arm.  “I see by MY ROSE BOWL WATCH that it is 4:25.”)
Dave was the referee for the 1980 Rose Bowl in which Charles White leaped into the end zone to score the winning touchdown on fourth down with less than a minute to play, giving SC a 17-16 win over the Buckeyes and plunging the state of Ohio into mourning.  Unfortunately the cover of the following week’s SI showed White crossing the goal line without the ball.  Oops!  When asked about this, Dave had a stock answer, “The camera lied”.

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