Beginning our 7th year and over 2500 pages. A blog for fans of Track and Field from the 1950's and 60's, culled from various articles in sports journals of the day with added commentaries from readers who lived and ran and coached in that era.
We're the equivalent of an American Legion post of Track and Field but without cheap beer. You may contact us directly at email@example.com or write a comment at the end of a given posting.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
V 6 N. 74 Shakespeare Knew Cross Country
UNDERSTOOD CROSS COUNTRY
I first saw Henry V performed on the silver screen by Kenneth Brannagh, I was so moved by the St.
Crispin’s Day speech before the Battle
of Agincourt that I felt like getting up in the cinema and kicking someone’s
you know what. The Bard caught what
many in modern times call the pre-game or pre-meet coach’s speech and set it alight. It was
meant to inspire people who would
go into battle seemingly not caring if they
lived or died as long as their side carried the day. He tells them that later the survivors would
be able on the Feast of St. Crispin to roll
up their sleeves and look at the scars they earned and tell their grandchildren
what happened on that day. He talks
about the men who stayed behind in England when his men would be fighting. How they would regret not being there. He invokes the passions of men to overlook
the odds and go forth and believe in themselves. Pure mind over matter.
battle took place on October 25, 1415 near the end of the Hundred Years War between
England and France. On this day the French knights greatly outnumbered the English
and they were on their home ground. They
definitely had home field advantage as Henry and his men had been on the march
for some time and were cold and wet and short of rations. However this battle was to turn the medieval way of warfare on its head. The French army consisted of armed nobility,
men who had all taken vows of chivalry.
They did not use the common man to represent them in battle, (one) as they did not want to arm the peasants and
risk an uprising, and (two) because warfare was considered a gentleman’s privilege.
Were that not still the case.
English however were not kin to those thoughts having also fought a ‘civil’ war
(The War of the Roses) for years between themselves and resorted to the
recruiting, training, and arming of the less than noble folk. Furthermore the English were on the cusp of
weapons technology and had developed the longbow which was capable of piercing
French armor. When Henry’s men set arrow
to the bow, the French knights were doomed.
This battle demarked the end of the middle ages and the beginning of the
Renaissance. Two hundred years later
Shakespeare was able to reignite those times in his plays.
King is referred to by his men as King Harry.
This is a corruption of Henri or what it
sounded like in the ears of the common
folk. Henry V had blood mixed
with the French in his veins. In fact
it is a derivation from the French Henri
and the original Old German Heinrich or
Haimirich.. Harry became a very popular
name in England and was even used in the phrase, ‘every Tom , Dick ,
what we have here is a modest attempt to update the story in the context of a
late season cross country meet. The team of coach Harry is attempting to get
through the NCAA district meet and on to the nationals at Terre
Haute, a name perhaps lost on the
unwashed and unschooled.
starting this little exercise I thought of Coach Harry Groves the venerable
dean of Penn State Cross Country and Track and Field. Harry is a living legend and the epitome of
the salty toughness of the old time coaches.
I’ve never met the man, but the stories about him can be found on the
Penn State alumni track blog. How do you
say ‘reverence’ and ‘fear’ in the same breath?
Read the blog and get the answer.
own college coach at Oklahoma, Bill Carroll, used to say before the big
races. “This ain’t no county meet. And if you’re not ready to go all out and
give 100%, just get on the bus and wait there.
We won’t say a thing.”
will see on the left, the original St. Crispian’s Speech as Shakespeare wrote
it. On the right side our updated Cross
Country Version. You may also reference
the speech as Brannagh and Sir Laurence Olivier delivered it.
Coach Harry, venrable coach of the Puxatony State Groundhogs XC team
The Runners: Gloucester, a third year chemistry major, suspected of creating PEDs in his alchemy courses, Bedford, a transfer from Great Britain, said to be a former world class six miler, Exeter, another Englisman transfer from McNeese State, Erpingham, red shirt frosh out of east Texas, Salisbury, a born again runner from Timmons, Ontario Westmoreland, grad assistant coach recently retired from the US military
Enter GLOUCESTER, BEDFORD, EXETER, ERPINGHAM, SALISBURY
W. Shakespeare did write it Updated Version (with apologies)
Where is the king? Where the f--- is Coach Harry?
The king himself is rode to view their battle. He’s
in his golf cart looking
the cross country course and laying
Strategy in his seasoned mind.
Of fighting men they have full three score
French are loaded with studs.
There’s five to one;
besides, they are all fresh. They’ve
all been tapering and Harry’s
our asses at practice every night
God’s arm strike with us! ‘tis a fearful odds. If God is on our side,
but I fear He’s
God be wi’ you princes all; I’ll to my charge: not, we’ll all be in
shit by the mile
If we no more meet till we meet in heaven, mark. Good luck you guys, I’ll be
Then joyfully, my noble Lord of Bedford, over at the coaches’
My dear Lord Gloucester, and my good Lord Exeter, watch the JV and varsity races from there.
And my kind kinsmen, warriors all, adieu! Meet you at the vans afterward.
Farewell, good Salisbury; and good luck go Best to ya, Sali.
(Aside to Exeter) He’ll be
himself after that JV race.
Farewell, kind lord; fight valiantly to-day: Luck , Sali – Do
And yet I do thee wrong to mind thee of it, That’s all we can
For thou art framed of the firm truth of valour. (Aside to Bedford) Bleedin’
, SALISBURY RUNNING LIKE HELL.
He is full of valour as of kindness; Yeah,
he’s a two faced lying,
Princely in both. Arsehole.
O that we now had here Why
can’t we recruit a few more
But one ten thousand of these men in England Milers like we did in Viet
That do no work to-day! To get a
better body count.
HENRY V KING
What’s that he wishes so? What’s that
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair trying to pull
over on me?
gave him that grad assistant job
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow ‘cause our
mothers are sisters, and
To do our county
loss; and if to live, he
goes behind my back, the lout.
The fewer men , the greater share of honour. I’d rather run with
five guys, lean
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more. And mean than take them down
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, numbers. Get those JV’s out of my
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; sight. Those
high school wonders
It yearns me not if men my garments wear; All wanting full
rides, they never
Such outward things dwell not in my desires: produce. I’m down to my jockstrap
But if it be a sin to covet honour, for a
I am the most offending soul alive. All I
want is to win this f---ing
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England: District. And no more spikes to handOut. I was hoping for Mizunos and the
Bloody Exchequer sends us NikeTailwinds.
If we can get by Michigan
God’s peace! I
would not lose so great an honour We’ll
win the Nationals on the
As one man more, methinks, would share from me Terre Haute come
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more! St. Crispin's Day.
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, Have faith , cousin Westy, do not
That he which hath no stomach to this fight, seek one more
replacement if you
Let him depart, his passport shall be made value your
And crowns for convoy put into his purse: Let any of these
Slackers who is not
We would not die in that man’s company ready to give 110%
just get on the
That fears his fellowship to die with us. Bus right now
and never show
This day is called the feast of Crispian: Himself again at
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Today is the feast of St.
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, And even though we
are a state
And rouse him at the name of Crispian. Sponsored
university, we will undo
He that shall live this day, and see old age, That PC sanction and
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, saintly heritage. And someday when
say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’ We
are Farts Redundant, shall
we pull upour trouser legs
Then will he
strip his sleeve and show his scars. And
show off our
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day’ Spiking scars at the Legion
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, And the lads
swilling the cheap beer
But he’ll remember with advantages will
remember our names-
What feats he did that day: then shall our names. Coach Harry, Bedford, Exeter,
Familiar in his mouth as household words Warwick, and Talbot
, Salisbury, and
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Gloucester. They will teach their
Warwick, and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, sons and daughters now, and
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d. Crispin shall never go by without
This story shall the good man teach his son; The world remembering
how we few
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, We happy few, we band of brothers;
From this day to the ending of the world, did meet the test,
But we in it shall be remember’d; Achieved
and sustained Lactate
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; Threshhold,
and crossed the line in
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Victory!!
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, Those who did
not answer that call
day shall gentle his condition; but
instead stayed home watching porn will curse themselves and hide
And gentlemen in England now a-bed their
senseless tattoos when we are
Shall thin k themselves accursed they were not here, Honoured with our
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks St. Crispin’s Day.
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
My sovereign lord, bestow yourself with speed Coach, enough with the
French are bravely in their battles set,
We haven’t even our numbers on
will with all expedience charge on us. Our
need some run outs. The Frogs
all on the line, ready to go.
KING HENRY V KING
things are ready, if our minds be so. It’s
mind over matter , Lads!
Hell with run outs!
the man whose mind is backward now. Salisbury
has my f------g spikes fer
KING HENRY V KING
dost not wish more help from England,coz? Then
run barefoot, Westmoreland
sorry piece of rotten codfish!
God’s will! My liege, would you and I alone OK, coach, but don’t
say I didn’t
Without more help, could fight this royal battle. Warn ye.
HENRY V KING
Why, now thou hast unwish’d five thousand men; We can pull this off, my Boys.
Which likes me better than to wish us one. You’ve just got to
You know your places: God be with you all! Yourselves. And may the
light a fire under your
MOUNTJOY, A MESSENGER FROM THE FRENCH
(at coaches’ meeting)
Once more I come to know of thee, King Harry. Well, Harry, you can pull out now and go
If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound, home before your lads lay strewn
Before thy most assured overthrow: bloody meadow,
spiked to shreds,
For certainly thou art so near the gulf, Achilles
ruptured, ACLs torn. They’ll
Thou needs must be englutted. Besides in mercy, naught be ready for the indoor season.
The constable desires thee thou wilt mind You’ll have to red shirt the
Thy followers of repentance; that their souls Go home now and suffer no more
May make a peaceful and a sweet retire humiliation at French
From off these fields, where, wretches, their we are on our home turf. You shall
must lie and fester. Rot
in the sun.
HENRY V KING
Who hath sent thee now? Who sent you with this
piece of crap
The Constable of France ‘Tis the surrogate of
the French, one
Dassler from the Rhinelands,
of a magic footwear that will
us invulnerable to your Fearsome
Lads. Beware the three stripes
leave a mark on your backsides!
HENRY V KING
I pray thee, bear my former answer back: I tell you, Man, take this my
answer back to
Bid them achieve me and then sell my bones. Your Kraut purveyor , that your
Good God! Why should they mock poor fellows thus? Retreat insults us too much to accept.
The man that once did sell the lion’s skin There will be no baby cast out with
While the beast lived, was killed with hunting him.
Bath upon this playing field.
A many of our bodies shall no doubt We’d rather
leave our bones dissected on
Find native graves; upon the which, I trust, Your campus to fester
and reek sores
Shall witness live in brass of this day’s work: upon your coeds, than
And those that leave their valiant bones in France, from our fate with tails ‘twixt
Dying like men, though buried in you dunghills, sweaty loins.
They shall be famed; for there the sun shall greet
them, Let me say with pride that we
And draw their honours reeking up to heaven; Gay Warriors cloaked in
Leaving their earthly parts to choke your clime, And Go ld and Fuschia though a bit
The smell whereof shall breed a plague in France. Soiled from this incessant French Mark then abounding valour in our English, Reign, if you would so deign
That being dead, like to the bullet’s grazing, Pun. Is there no decent dry cleaner
Break out into a second course of mischief, in this forsaken
land? Our secret is
Killing in relapse of mortality. A
second wardrobe, Versache no less
Let me speak proudly: tell the constable While you French
must be content in
We are but warriors for the working-day; your derivative
Dior and Louis
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch’d Vuitton Purses.
With rainy marching in the painful field; You will go
running backwards and
There’s not a piece of feather in our host— From these Fields
bare arsed when
argument, I hope, we will not fly— We
English are finished with our work.
And time hath worn us into slovenry: Come no
more with offers of
But, by the mass, or hearts are in the trim; Surrender,
And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
They’ll be in fresher robes, or they will pluck
The gay new coats
o’er the French soldiers’ heads
And turn them out of service. If they do this—
As if God please, they shall, -- my ransom then
Will soon be levied.
Herald, save thou thy labour;
Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald:
They shall have none, I swear, I swear, but these
Which if they have as I will leave ‘em them,
Shall yield them little, tell the constable.
I shall, King Henry. And so fare thee well: You shall hear no more from
Thous never shalt hear hearald any more. The likes of me King Henry.
You, Sir, may mange de la merde!
My Lord, most humbly on my knee I beg Coach, please do please let me set the
The leading of the vaward pace on the first
mile. A 4:15 is
HENRY V KING
Take it, brave York.
Now, soldiers, march away: Take
it out hard, fair York.
And how thou pleases, God, dispose the day! And should God care a hoot