Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Vol. 2 No. 61 Jerry Dyes, a Texas Legend
John Lawler and Dennis Moore came to ACC from Australia in the fall of 1959. Charles Christmas was a Tennessee lad who came to ACC in the fall of 1961. He ran around 1:48 and 4:03. All of these guys showed up at a track reunion in Abilene last May 2011.
I went to
one year right out of high school. Those guys had a great track team. We had 18 indoor and outdoor track meets that year and we won every meet. We beat L.S.U. twice, and they came to Northeast Louisiana College and the score was like 100 to 30. It was an awesome team. I was third that year in scoring points. Prior to that year I had always been the Monroe person in high school. But, I was a freshman and there were two juniors there named Dave and Don Styron. Twins! And, were they fast? Really fast! They won the dashes, hurdles, and both relays at every meet we went to that year. Both are in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame! I was a good competitor before I showed up over there, but being around those guys I learned how to be really tough. Whether they would admit it or not I believe they experienced the fatigue syndrome as I did. Don made the Trials that year in the 400 hurdles but I think they were out of gas. So, why did I transfer? Unknown to me at the time I enrolled was a mandatory obligation that every male had to participate in R.O.T.C. It only took a short time for me to discover I was not army material. I could probably kill many enemy soldiers if it was necessary for me to be a soldier (I was a hunter most of my life and always bagged my share of the game.) but I would probably have been killed because I am a natural competitor. The Army tries to change you into something else. I was not very compatible. I do remember the final inspection of the R.O.T.C. that year. It was about 105 degrees that day. A general visiting from the regular service was doing the inspection. We were all standing in one spot for a very long time with our wool outfits covering every part of our body and a tie holding a khaki shirt tight. My company was at the very back of the group of several thousand men and boys. Guys started passing out in front of me, in back of me, beside me, and next to me a 6'7" basketball player actually fell against me. The corporal heading up my squad was bing bravo suring the incident, but about ten minutes later, he was on the ground. When the general got to the few left standing, he wanted to know why I was not passing out (he would not ask that question today). I informed him that I was a track athlete and probably in better condition than almost every one else. He looked at me for a long time and moved on down to the last standing person in the squad. My hands were so sweaty I did not think I would be able to hold on to my rifle when I presented it to him. I did. I wanted to ask him how he felt but decided it was not protocol. After it was over we learned that one of our weight men did pass out but he was about a football field length from me. Quite a few people went to the hospital for heat exhaustion. I decided that day there must be another school I could attend that did not require Army R.O.T.C. Since I led the freshman triple jump in the nation, a close second in the javelin throw, and third best in the long jump I was offered a full scholarship by the first two schools I contacted. I ended up at one of those. There was another reason, and a better reason than the one I posted but it is not for this moment. I alluded to it above in a very general way. high point
Winning was important and I usually tore my body down winning team meets through out those years I was identified with a team. There were not many that did better at scoring the most points at a track meet. I only participated in four losing meets during my four years in college. University of Kansas one year, University of New Mexico another year, and two national meets that I managed to compete in at the time. I could not go my freshman year since a
state law prevented my team from competing in certain meets (which included national meets). And, those were the days we had team scoring meets every weekend like most of the high schools continue to do today. Louisiana
I want to elucidate on the subject a bit more. I was always tired the last quarter of the season throughout my team experiences as an athlete. I never did less than four events. One night, my freshman year in college, I did eleven events. The concluding event was the mile relay. Being a gung-ho performer I never considered the matter of fatigue and competitive flatness until the third year of my coaching experience concluded. I had the best quarter-miler in the state of
in March. After four months of racing sprint relays, mile relays, two mile relays, and open 400'x (that included heats) he was tired. He finished seventh at the state meet and brought the mile relay home last with a 49.0 clocking (far slower than his early season times). He was very tired. After that experience I backed off on multi-event performers by selecting meets with minimal heats, and not using performers in every relay. At the NAIA championships, one year, I had a guy to run 12 races with the mile relay final being the last event. We chose our efforts prior to this meet. I have coached a number of multi-event people, and, unfortunately, because they were attempting to qualify for nationals, they had to do back-to-back decathlons and pentathlons. The first performance was always better than the second effort. I won the Kansas Relays Decathlon on a Thursday and Friday one week and competed in a conference track meet the following Friday and Saturday. I was wiped out even though I won three open events and placed third in two other events. It was an Olympic year. My fatigue was a definite downer. I did not even attempt the decathlon at the Trials. I recall four years earlier the almost exact same thing occurring. I was a freshman and was really doing great. Well, this one weekend I flew to Texas Oklahoma and triple jumped at the on Friday. They had a runway like the street out side. I had never jumped off asphalt. Well after seven jumps my heels were bruised as badly as one can imagine bad. I was traveling without my coach so the flight on to Univ. of Oklahoma the next morning and another triple jump competition that night pretty well sealed the deal. I had these blood bruises on my heels. It was worst that black. I won both events but paid a big price. I followed the schedule and move on to Kansas City to challenge that school's decathlon star. Obviously, he was fresh and on a Monday and Tuesday evening in late May, he, and I, along with two other lads, did a decathlon with only the two coaches there (my coach had caught up with me) and a few girl friends there to cheer their fellows on. Trying to show off in front of that crowd was about the only fired up emotion I had. He won, but if I had been fresh he would have lost. Also, I had broken my elbow a month earlier. I threw the javelin, discus, and shot put with a broken elbow. Later that summer I had an operation to remove the chipped or broken bone. Ever attempt to jump or throw was agony. The heels were sensitive. The elbow was subject to acute pain. But gung-ho as I was, I competed in Houston that Friday night and won the triple jump at a distance about four feet shorter than my earlier season best. I was really through even though I went on and qualified for the Trials at the AAU meet in Emporia Kansas . The latter had another asphalt runway. Fortunately, the Olympic Trials was at Bakersfield, California and they sported a grass runway. I placed, but would have made the team if I could have jumped the distance I jumped earlier in the season. I could not and did not. Stanford University
Running came natural for me. I never felt like I was straining unless I ran out of gas, but until then it was easy. I have watched thousands of people run. Fluidity is a blessing for some and a void for others. But, my mother could run fast. I think I was 13 when I finally could out run her. My mother did not recognize me as a good athlete until she watched for a while. After all she could out run me until I was 13 and she thought of me as her house boy. I was the oldest child and well trained. One day she witnessed me (I was about 20) throwing a fishing cane pole (redneck javelin)...actually good for developing arm speed) over 400 feet and she could not believe it. I remember her saying, "How can you do that?" It was measured. There were other guys there attempting to throw those canes, but they were only reaching a hundred feet or so (It's a far more ballistic action than you can imagine. Throwing it was nothing more than a body explosion... well for me anyway.) My father and some of his friends measured the throws from 75 feet from our back door over a field inhabited by cows, over another field, and across another fence.) As I noted, she called me her "Clark
" afterwards. I said that to a group the other day and they laughed at it. The story of my life! Yes, I remember her saying, "How can you do that?" I did not know the answer at the time. Today, I would tell her, "Probably, because of you!" My father enjoyed the rough and tumble stuff. He was a great high school basketball player. Anyway, what I learned was one really did not know until one found out about me. They, almost, always, assume the opposite. But, it was so much fun to win under those speculations, or projections. Kent
Being the sort of fellow I was made it easy for guys to assume less of me than I was capable of doing. I only weighed about 185 pounds back then and looked the part of being a regular character not worth challenging in any category of activities. But, I learned to take advantage of this reality. My mother had taught me to be very humble. So, my response was to win as much as possible. If you did not know I was winning you pretty well fit in the earlier category as described above. I reckon a lot of guys concluded that I looked like the weakling that walked by Charles Atlas out on the beach and had sand tossed on him. I am not sure if I could have whipped Atlas in a fight, but I am pretty sure I could have thrown an object faster and further, jumped further and higher, ran faster and longer and no telling what else. (However, I will admit if I had lifted weights in those years, there's no telling; he was up on me on that one.) So, I transferred after my freshman year, and in those days that meant being basically idle for a year. I did workout and continued to develop physically since I was only 19. Too, I bumped into some guys who were able to size up the situation, so off to the races we went. During that year I was able to throw the 12 pound shot put 64 feet (while throwing the 16 lb. 53 feet). We went many places and the bets were on. We never lost. This included shot put throwing, racing in the streets, jumping over cars and trucks, and throwing a football for distance. The latter happen by chance on the practice field one day when I threw a football 105 yards. Some guys rounded some other guys up and managed bets. I delivered with a throw of 102 yards. This went on at different places with different guys who thought they could throw a football the length of a field. Most of the time, these egotists managed a throw a bit over 50 yards. Of course, the fact that they were generally boozed up did not help them; but did us. Usually there was a lot of cussing when a ball landed far away from the point of delivery or a shot put landed around 60 feet. There was even more cussing when a car was cleared. Who is that? They were never told the truth. The word got around pretty good in the places we frequented that you needed to be careful because there was a wild man who looks like a choir boy that will take you to the cleaners fair and square jumping and, particularly throwing. My greatest mistake was quitting competition at 22 years of age. It was a decision that is pretty well hard-case stupidity. (This conclusion is only meant for me and no one else.) I was no where near my maximum potential efforts. I never talked about my career very much for a very long time, but I am reaching the age that I need to record as much as possible, or I will not be able to remember such things as just alluded to above. And, other folks who were around in those days are moving on down the road themselves. I talked to one, today, and he says he remembers the day the football was thrown over a 100 yards. He said he was there. Since there were many occasions, I am unsure which time he is talking about. Obviously, it had to be on the field in big A. But, there were several times that happened. I remember one night, or early morning, we bumped into a fellow who claimed he had thrown a football from one goal line through the goal post on the opposite end. The ball would have traveled over 115 yards at a minimum for that to happen. He was a big guy and claimed to have played at the
. We had not heard of him. He was in the Army at the time and stationed at Hood. He looked the part even though I was confident that too much alcohol was traversing his veins. So, his entourage claimed to know where a football field was located and off we went. We had two footballs and followed. Eventually, we found the place and waited for daylight. With one of my guys at the other end of the field with four or five of his, my other friend and I set up at the end of the field with the wind at our backs. He won the toss to see who would throw first and decided he would give me that pleasure. I heaved a very high and nice spiral that landed about 87 yards down field. The University of Tennessee boy had been throwing about 60 yards warming up and that's about where his first, second, third, fourth, and fifth throws landed. On his last throw he almost reached 70 yards. I was not going to throw any additional throws. My friend, holding the cash said, "Pal, its being nice knowing you but we are going." There were about ten of those guys and they demanded that I throw both footballs. We had the money and were leaving, but I told the guys, "I'll do it." The first throw was over 90 yards and the next throw was over a 100 yards. We left with new friends. This guy, obviously, had some experience and talent throwing, but he was out of throwing condition at the time. Too, I rather doubt if there is anyone who can throw a football 115 yards dead or alive. Well, I concede there is probably a hand full, but that is 345 feet. As you stand and look in the direction you are going to throw it seems almost impossible to think the ball will go that far. It just happens! Today, the NFL has combine efforts where they bring in the best professional football prospects and they summarize that a throw of 80 yards is extraordinary. Most cannot throw a football that far. There are exceptions. According to Google the following distances were credited to these quarterbacks; Joe Flacco 74 yards, Jamarcus Russell 84 yards, Jeff George 88 yards, Troy Smith 73 yards, Matt Ryan 62 yards, Vince Young 65 yards, Phillip Rivers 69 yards, Peyton Manning 75 yards, Brett Favre 75 yards, John Elway 78 yards, Randall Cunningham 78 yards, Ben Roethlisberger 70 yards, and the world record for football throwing is reputed to be 213 yards. I will say that is not correct because it is humanly impossible to do that. It was credited to someone, I, and the writer, had never heard of before. A guy once told me that he saw Craig Martin (former Dallas quarterback) stand under one goal post and throw a football through the uprights of the goal post at the other end. I did not call him a liar to his face, but in my head I knew he was not telling the truth. I threw footballs for distance many times and around 105 yards was the best I ever threw. I did that distance and maybe a yard or two further quite a few times. But, I was a person who was throwing something almost every day of my life for distance. (Just for the record, I threw a football 70 yards in the street out front of my house last Sunday.) That guy and many others wanted to know who I played for and the answer was "I was a pitcher in the Chicago Cubs organization and when I got my control down I would be up there." I made a different decision long time ago and there were times I regretted it, but life is what it is. Tennessee
V 8 N. 43 Book Review "My Marathon, Reflections on a Gold Medal Life" by Frank Shorter and John Brant
To read an autobiography of someone who was a contemporary, though miles above one's own abilities in the sport of long distance runni...
Larry Jessee Larry Jessee, a Miamisburg, Ohio native has led an interesting and varied path in the pole vaulting world that would fi...
Almost a year ago I received an email from Fred Abington through an intermediary, as Fred was not yet using email. I negligently forgot to ...