Thursday, April 9, 2015

V5 N 27 Weird Tracks and Other Musings

Jimson Lee writing for Speed Endurance posted the following article on odd shaped tracks.

Go figure, eh?   The 1908 Olympics had a huge 3 lap track with the Olympic Swimming pool in the middle and room for equestrian events in the infield.   Peter Snell's first world record mile was run on a 5 lap grass track.    I've run on one at Oakwood high school in Dayton, Ohio, and it was a bit befuddling running that fifth lap.    Western Kentucky when Nick Rose and the other outstanding Brits were there had an outdoor track with four corners and four straightaways around their football field.

Below is some talk amongst friends who are discussing the ins and outs of announcing a track meet and the importance of old time dual meets and triangular meets, and how often runners should compete during the college or high school season.  I think maybe this will elicit some comments from readers.  Just add yours at the bottom of this piece and I will put them on the blog for everyone to see.

Hey Geoff,

I recall a while ago that you went to the Florida Relays and had no idea what was going

on during

the meet because the announcer did not tell you. Well, I have some insight on why it happens.
I sat with Buck Jones, the announcer, on Saturday  for most  of the meet. It was hectic up

theremore than I can remember. He had to listen to two walkie talkies- one for all the presentations-

I counted three in all- and one from the clerk of the course and referees who want calls for each

race made multiple times. 
In addition, they were seeding on the fly so he had no idea who was running- the heat sheets were

worthless- made even more-so because Deltatiming did not print the bib numbers of the athletes

on the heat sheets.  
The relay cards were given to him in a stack right before the race or not at all. And seeing as he

only had two hands, one to hold the mic and the other to rifle through the stack, it was rather

I think this is what hampers the sport of track. It is set up for the athlete, not the spectator. I see so

much difference with the other sports. They have entertainment and give aways, contests and

what not. I bet you half the fans could not tell you the rules of a lacrosse game.
Anyway, just venting.
Great races though. The meet keeps getting outstanding performances.


I will try.....enjoyed your comments re: announcing. At the D 2 national meets, there is good announcing. 
The problem indoors is that some of the venues are not conducive to good may hear the 
annoncer but not understand what they are saying. Except for Diamond League, Pre etc., few spectators
 come to track meets. Who but the most diehard nuts' want to sit through six (6) or more hours of anything 
in our fast paced, short attention life style. As mentioned before, at Miami we could have a nice dual/tri 
college meet and be back up town drinking beer....2 1/2 hours tops. People came out to watch and keep 
score with an often exciting, who wins the meet, mile relay. We've chewed on this before and the answer
 yet to be found at least by me.......thoughts ?

Steve Price
Sent from my iPad

On Apr 7, 2015, at 6:39 PM, Wilfred Schnier <> wrote:
   I agree completely with this description of the announcing of the Florida Relays.  That meet, by its 
very nature, is complicated and difficult to announce, but made absolutely impossible with seeding

on the fly and multiple walkie-talkies.  I announced two meets last year and neither had all of those problems.  Both were seeded in advance which made everything on paper the same as happened on the track.  With that in mind, I could do advance study and announce the credentials of the athletes upon presenting them before their events.  All in all, I was able to give perspective to the meet, which is why you have an announcer.  Had I been the announcer at the Florida Relays it would have been the same impossible job that announcer had.
   The idea that everything is set up for the athletes and for nobody else in T&F is entirely correct.  We present ourselves poorly.  Football got a big boost when John Madden was a TV announcer who treated his job as that of a coach.  He taught and informed his audience, telling them things they would not have otherwise seen.  After some of his announcing, the audience began to look for the things he was pointing out and consequently became more knowledgeable.  Given the right circumstances, the announcer can tell people what is about to happen, then call the event as it happens, and finally tell them what actually happened.  It is simple but important.  
   The best PA announcers I ever heard were Jim Duncan (Drake Relays) and Jack O'Reilly (Penn Relays).  They were informative as well as inspirational, involving the crowd in the meet.  The track at Drake University is now named after Jim Duncan, and rightfully so.  However, neither of them could have done much had they been in the booth at Gainesville a week or so ago.  Unfortunately those circumstances are all too common.  T&F needs to pay more attention to its presentation and education at meets.       Bill Schnier

Wilfred Schnier

Apr 7 (2 days ago)
to StevemephilDickMikeGreg
   The topics of announcing and type of meets are not really the same topic, but they are inasmuch as neither
 is being presented in a good fashion.  Needlessly long meets are never good.  A few years ago colleges 
tried to have a series of dual or tri-meets, but it did not last.  After one such meet at Indiana (Indiana, 
Western Michigan, Cincinnati) I asked our team if they liked the format of the meet.  Every hand went up in 
a positive fashion.  Our best meets in all my years at UC were indoor dual meets with Miami and the 
outdoor Southern Ohio Cup with UC, Miami and Ohio.  Frequently our best marks came from those meets.  
Rather than using that as evidence that we should have more such meets, the consensus continued that we 
should go to 2-3 day meets with 30-45 teams so we could get good competition.  I found that if you get the 
right 2-3 teams, you could get beat perfectly easily with them and did not need the other 42 teams.      Bill


Apr 7 (2 days ago)
to SteveWilfredmeDickMikeGreg
Hey folks the tri meet dual meet thing needs to be on week day so athletes have more chances to compete. 
Competing once week sucks  for most college athletes. That is why most of them never last all 4 years. 
Too much training not enough competing. Rotate colleges that are close to each other. I know it will not work

Sent on a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note® II

Wilfred Schnier

Apr 8 (1 day ago)
to pdscottStevemeDickMikeGreg
   Great thoughts from Phil.  As far as multiple meets per week, forget the distance runners who appear to 
want about 2 or 3 meets per season.  

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