Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts from a passionate track & field blogger...

Every once in a while, I will skim through a link forwarded to me by one of the five readers of this site and see what's out there in the blogosphere.

Conway Hill's "The View From The Finish Line" is perhaps one of the most thought provoking blogs on the sport of track and field.

He writes about the issues surrounding the sport not from the viewpoint of a current or former athlete, coach, reporter, commentator, federation shill, PR hired gun, shoe company executive, or agent, but from the vantage point of the fan.

In a post last week, Hill wrote about the Super 60 dash at the Millrose Games, featuring a number of current and former NFL stars trying to run and comparing themselves to the current crop of sprinters.

As Hill writes, "But what really caught my eye, and compelled me to comment on the issue, was the quoting of USA Track and Field CEO, Doug Logan on the subject. His quote:

'This is the year 2010. This is a sport that to a large degree has been passed by -- by other sports who have had the intelligence of understanding the demographic of what they're trying to sell that to,' Logan told The Associated Press on Tuesday after USATF announced the special race.

'It does nothing to destroy authenticity. It does nothing to denigrate the true competition. It is truly trying to inject something that is entertaining and yet congruent with the sport,' he said."

Conway goes on to say, "Now the one thing that I agree with Mr. Logan on is that the sport has been passed by by other sports that have done a much better job of selling themselves to the public. I disagree, however, that this sort of "marketing" is some New Millennium methodology that will bring the sport the attention that it needs."

"Everyone keeps looking for some marketing genius to come up with the perfect plan to get track and field on track (especially in this country). When in reality the fundamental flaw of this sport is its inability to get a substantial number of its star athletes on the track at any one venue outside of a national championship or global major!"

I wish Conway could see how right he is just by coming to Seattle to watch a meet at the Dempsey!

At last weekend's UW Invitational, the Husky coaching staff set up the meet schedule so that the best races were run from the 3pm-6pm time slot (coincidentally, after the end of the UW/WSU basketball game happening 100 meters away at Hec Edmundson Pavilion).

In that time slot, folks saw: Dierdre Mullen, the fourth place finisher in the high jump at the 2008 US Olympic Trials, challenge the facility record; Michael Mai, a member of the USA World Championships team in the hammer throw, toss the indoor 35-pound weight; Jessica Pixler of Division II Seattle Pacific run the fastest time by any collegian this season in the mile; a facility record in the men's mile by world championships team member Chris Solinsky; and Galen Rupp win the 3000 almost two hours after taking Solinsky to the wire in the mile.

While the UW Invitational may have lost some luster after Pac-10 rivals Oregon, Stanford, and Washington State opted to travel to Texas A&M for the Big 12/Pac 10/SEC Challenge meet, there were enough quality events for fans to watch, particularly in the distance races. Granted, the allure of running fast times on a super-fast Mondo track is enough to lure many top college teams to the Dempsey in the middle of winter in Seattle.

To read Conway's complete post, please click here..

1 comment:

pjm said...

I wish Conway's blog allowed comments (as yours does, Paul) because his posts have frequently sparked enough thought that I've wanted to follow up on his ideas.

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