Friday, June 26, 2015

2015 Outdoor Nationals: Day 2

This is gonna be work.

If it were simply another long day on a hot track, no big deal. However, I stayed up past midnight catching up with Ishmael, another umpire I haven't seen in awhile. He competed at UO back in the day and has lots of great war stories.

Then I woke up at 0500, just like I usually do. I NEED COFFEE!!!

But what works better is an early morning run. This one was prefaced by an elevator trip to the wrong floor in the dorm, then using a bathroom, then discovering that I somehow entered the other gender's facilities. Sorry, ladies!

Nice morning to shake the cobwebs loose. An easy half hour, culminating in the heinous climb up to Pre's Rock. I really wish he hadn't died, and I also wish he hadn't died UP THERE. Killer hills....

On the way back to the dorm, I notice grocery store isn't open yet, and I need my Register-Guard; the Eugene paper has great track coverage, and it's my habit to save the sports section after the big meets. I have a pretty big stack at home; hopefully that doesn't make me a hoarder.

Anyhow, I find a gas station/convenience store. They don't sell papers. Hmmmmm...this should be easier. Couple of hotels nearby....I pop into the lobby of one and see a stack of newspapers, so I ask if I can buy one. The clerk says, "they're free if you're staying here."

I say, "I'm not staying here."

Clerk: blank look.

Me: "The grocery store is closed, the gas station doesn't have any, and I NEED A PAPER!"  Ok, I didn't yell, but I did offer to pay full price. Mission accomplished.

At breakfast, I'm talking with Dan, Head Clerk and Tucson native. He attended the Olympics in Munich 72, Montreal 76, Moscow 80, and worked at the LA 84 and Atlanta 96 Games. He's got some stories, too.

Junior Men's 5000m: Bend-ite Matthew Maton is content to take a stroll for about 4k, as is the rest of the pack. Then it gets tasty; he burns a last 800 in 2:03 and his last lap in 60. But he looked like the heat took it out of him.

Yesterday, I noticed something about UO junior Jenna Prandini, the monster sprinter. When she leaves the blocks, she scrapes her toes for a couple of strides, and I can't figure out why. So I ask UO Coach Johnson; he's a sprinter and I'm not. Sure enough, he says it's to counteract those first power steps and help with the forward acceleration.

I have no idea what that means. I'm an engineer, and I know that friction is resistance to motion. How can friction be helpful if the goal is to get down the track as fast as possible?

Probably the tops of her shoes have a Teflon-like coating to minimize friction. Know what else minimizes friction? NOT SCRAPING YOUR TOES!!!

Junior women's hammer: I know one thrower's parents are named Lloyd and Patricia, because the girl's name is Lloydricia.

Forgot to mention: the dorms are full of exchange students and young kids in camp programs. They don't like to sleep like us old folks: last night, they had a nice volleyball game outside the dorm at 0100. And since it's been so hot, everyone has to open their windows (no air conditioning). Eventually, someone called the police. Fortunately, I'm on the other side of the building and heard nothing.

I went to lunch and came back to find my chair stolen by Olympic Decathlon Silver Medalist Trey Hardee. I don't care how much hardware he has.

Semis of the junior men's 800; Donavan Brazier has the 4th best HS time in history. Too bad I had to DQ him: he stepped on the line right after the start.

Women's 100m semi: I notice on the big screen that I'm blocking the USATF logo on the backdrop behind the starting blocks, so I do a sideways shuffle in real time so the sponsors are happy.

Former UO Duck English Gardner wins her semi  in a nasty 10.79. She came to Eugene by way of New Jersey, meaning that she spent the first 22 years of her life not pumping her own gas.

Junior men's 110HH final: bodies flying everywhere. I'm surprised the hurdles didn't splinter.

Trayvon Bromell qualified for the men's 100m semi with a 9.84, 4th fastest American time ever. Then he runs a wind-aided 9.76, while Tyson did a 9.79 with a similar breeze. Incidentally, all the competitors are dressed stylish, groomed impeccably. Except Tyson, whose goatee appears very Amish-like. Good Lord, man, get a trimmer.

I was stationed behind the blocks. When Tyson was set, his entire body quivered like a spaceship about to launch.

Oh yes, that was the "BMW Men's 100m Dash." Thank you very much...

Queen Harrison is waiting for the 100m HH; she has a Cleopatra pattern of tattoos on her right forearm, as well as the back of her hand. That had to hurt....Sharika Nelvis busts a wind-legal 12.34...Olympic winner and runner-up Dawn Harper-Nelson is sporting a braided high box that looks a lot like Vanilla Ice.

Just sayin'

Monster efforts in the men's High Jump. Erik Kynard, who looks a lot like Kobe Bryant, narrowly misses an American Record of 7'10 3/4".

I skipped the women's 1500m semis in favor of moving my car and getting something to eat. Got me a prime parking spot outside the dorm; it's reserved M-F until 6pm, and I was there at 6:01. Very George Costanza-like in my OCD.

In the 400IH, World Junior Champion Shamir Little is not only sporting her customary green flower in the hair; she also has electric blue k-tape. Lots of loud colors.

The coordinator of officials comes over to me. Dennis has been doing this for probably 40 years and has huge pull in who gets selected for the big events. He asks if I want to work Pac-12's next May at UW, and possibly the 2017 version at Oregon State. Uh, sure.

In the steeple semis, Donn Cabral and Cory Leslie are talking and smiling with 5 laps to go. Come on, guys: this is supposed to be a hard race.

UO Soph Marcus Chambers runs a tough 400m in the semi and misses qualifying for the final by 0.02 seconds. He's crushed, mad, frustrated. He later learns that someone who finished in front of him was running on the line and was DQ'd, so Marcus gets the final. Happy boy...

The women's 100m final has 3 past or present Ducks, and they end up going 2-3. One of the starters commented that Oregon sure has a lot of good sprinters recently.

Curtis Beach, he of the DQ'd 400m heat in the decathlon, jogged thru 3 laps of the 1500 and then ran the last 200m in 32 seconds. I think he was mad. And Wisconsin's Zack Ziemek struggles thru the 1500 before collapsing. Then the camera pretty much crawls into his grill while he's lying on the ground and barely able to that really necessary?

At least he's wearing mid-calf socks, and bright red to boot.

2 days of 95+ degree heat. 24 total hours on the track. 6 showers.

I love track.

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