Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thank you!

I want to take this moment away from the blog to thank the members of the Track & Field Writers of America for awarding me the Adam Jacobs award for blog sites. As many of you who attended the breakfast Friday at the Eugene Hilton can attest, I was stunned and caught speechless by the honor.

This blog was started in March 2007, inspired by the work done by Charlie Mahler on his blog, "Down The Backstretch", which focuses on the feats of high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate happenings in the state of Minnesota. Charlie's blog continues to be a source of inspiration, and it's my hope that TAFWA recognizes his work sometime in the future.

One of the questions I am constantly asked by readers of this blog is why don't we cover high school track & field in the state of Washington? The answer is that the sites that cater to the prep scene, such as DyeStat & MileSplit do a very good job with that segment of the sport.

The reason why I started this blog is that in Washington, the collegiate and post-collegiate athletes tend to be forgotten in the grand scheme of things. Other than an occasional article in the big newspapers--usually either during the collegiate championship season, or in the run-up to the Olympics--collegiate and post-collegiate track and field tends to be largely ignored.

There's a list of folks that I want to thank, beginning with the track & field sports information directors for track & cross country at the University of Washington (Mike Bruscas & his predecessor Brian Beaky), Washington State University (Linda Chalich), Seattle Pacific (Dan Lepse), and the University of Oregon (Greg Walker & Geoff Thurner); the media relations folks at Nike (Jacie Prieto Lopez, Morgan Shaw, Heidi Burgett & Megan Saalfeld), and adidas (Lyn Famigletti); Ben Cesar, Heather Spears, and Vanessa Asell at Asics; the entire USA Track & Field media relations staff; and the coaching staffs at the various schools in the state of Washington that I cover.

I also want to thank Martin Rudow, the publisher of Northwest Runner magazine, for giving me a spot as a senior writer for the magazine; the media relations staff at the IAAF, led by Nick Davies; and the many newspaper, broadcast, photographers, and internet specialists who have a passion for the sport that I've met along the way.

When the blog was started, Facebook was only for college kids, and I had absolutely no clue was Twitter was. I've had to embrace the use of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter in order to expand the reach of this blog to a new audience.

As I looked around at the attendees at the TAFWA breakfast, I noticed one disturbing fact--there were not very many younger members in attendance, particularly in the new media field. If you run a web site, blog, produce online videos, or tweet about this sport, please get involved with TAFWA!

To the Jacobs family, who raised a fine son in Adam, I hope that this web site upholds the standards that he set out to attain before his untimely passing.

To the three women who mentored me in high school, college, and when I was starting out--Barbara Nilson, my high school journalism teacher at Seattle's Franklin High School; Lisa Fortini-Campbell, the advertising teaching assistant at the University of Washington who became a friend and a valuable resource; and Jeanne McKnight, the director of communications at the 1984 Women's Olympic Marathon Trials in Olympia, who took on a track nut on her staff--thank you for teaching me those valuable lessons in journalistic integrity, media relations, and public relations.

Thanks also go to my high school and college coaches, Don Bundy and Dixon Farmer, for instilling in me their passion and vision of the sport.

To former vice president Al Gore--thanks for inventing the internet. If there's no internet, blogging would not be a part of today's vocabulary! :-)

To the TAFWA selection chair, Parker Morse--I am humbled by this honor. Thanks!

To TAFWA president Jack Pfeifer, who actually coached me my senior year at Franklin--you got me again!

There are some other people that I've missed, including the folks who contributed photos, news tips, et cetera; you know who you are, and I thank you!

Finally, thank you to the athletes that we've covered, and the readers of the blog. This is not possible without you.

Thanks again!


Ken Stone said...

Congratulations, Paul! I humbly hand off the award baton to you.

Would love to see links to your submitted entries from 2009.

I'll spread the word about your blog, and begin reading it regularly myself.

Mercanator said...

Ken, thank you for the nice thoughts!

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea who nominated me for this award, and I didn't submit any links. Please let me know who nominated my site.

Once again, thank you!

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