Last Saturday, Mary and I joined my sister-in-law and her family at the Prefontaine track meet. Kelly (the brother-in-law-law) is a track nut. He coaches a high school track team (and cross country), and he gets giddy when going to a meet like this.
In high-school, I threw (put) the shot, and discus. I wasn't great, but in my league I usually placed either in 1st or 2nd. However, I always choked on the discus when it came to the P.I.L. championship and trying to get to the state meet. So I never got to go to the state meet at Hayward Field. But enough about my glory days.
Kelly brought some of the kids from his track team, and they were all so excited to see the various athletes. One girl started quivering uncontrollably and crying when she met Marion Jones. Marion (if I may call her that) is a very impressive athlete, but I'm more of a fan of Koji Murofushi who throws the hammer.
Alan Webb became the 100th person to run a sub 4-minute mile at Hayward Field. During his victory lap he took off his shoes and threw them into the crowd. Kelly was standing right next to the guy who caught it. I don't think Kelly stopped talking about it the entire drive home. I can't imagine what he would have done if he caught the shoe - he's still giving out pieces of the section of track he carved out of the old track at Oregon State. It was torn out a couple of years ago to put in a softball field, but its claim to fame was that it was the first artificial track in North America.
There is so much stuff going on at one time at the meet that it's very hard to follow. In one 5 second span, a guy threw the winning distance in the shot, a man and a woman cleared 18+' and 15+' in the pole vault, and a race (the 110 high hurdles?) started. Talk about confusing.
I really would like to watch the discus, but they've never thrown it when I've made it. Watching the hammer was definitely the high-point of the day for me. Those guys spin around so incredibly fast - and I can't figure out how they don't get dizzy and throw it into the fence. Koji just blew the other guys out of the water, only two throws were even within 15' of his worst throws, and most of the guys didn't even come 20' within his worst marks.
I stood about 10 feet from the chain-link fence that surrounded the throwing circle. It was definitely the best "seat". Koji's coach was acting like an ass and bothering people, but I guess he gets some slack because he is a real coach. The biggest asses were three guys, all taller than me, who walked up and stood in front of all of us. I couldn't believe it! Three guys, all well over 6 feet - the tallest was probably 6'7, and they just completely blocked everyone's view. I asked them, "You're not seriously just going to come in and stand there, are you?" - and they sheepishly came to the back of the crowd. The nerve. I think they probably never got called on it in the past - they're taller than everyone else, and everyone is afraid of making a scene. Luckily, I was there to save the day. Go me.
Now if I can just figure out where I can start practicing the hammer. Trey for gold in 2008!