Tuesday, December 27, 2005

When running was for glory - not exercise

Verne and Mark
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
JAMESTOWN, NY - After a two-mile walk down the beach yesterday - and being passed by dozens of energetic runners - I ran across this photo, taken at a track practice probably during our senior year at SWCS.

It appears that Mark Swanson is a step ahead of Verne Ahlgren, though with Verne's steps, one extra stretch would put him ahead of Mark.

I remember Joe Rushin standing alongside the track a lot with his stopwatch, timing people without them knowing it. Then, he would come up to you when you least expected it and tell you how you were doing.

One day Al Ross and I decided to run a 100-yard dash, after arguing who was faster. Al's long legs could carry him faster over longer distances, but up to 220 yards, I could usually beat him.

This particular day, one of those rare warm spring days, we ran like demons, a dead heat at the finish line where Coach Joe stood, having timed us.

When we stopped, panting, the look on his face was a mixture of suprise and rage.

We had run arguably the best race of our lives, both of us around 10.7 seconds for the hundred - faster than I ever ran for sure. I was a 11.0 seconds guy usually - on a good day.

After chewing on us both for a moment, he said he probably needed to have us race against each other at the meets - we obviously had more at stake than when we ran against other schools.

Of all the folks who we had as teachers and coaches in high school, I think I miss him the most - even when we he was chewing me out, emphasizing each syllable FITZ-GERRRRRRRRRR-ALD!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Getting out on the links in the springtime

The golf guys at SWCS
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
PUERTO VALLARTA, Jalisco, Mexico - Hitting the links around here is expensive, maybe $200 per-person, per round on golf courses that feature wild parrots in the trees and occasional crocodiles lingering in the water holes.

Going into the rough here can be filled with special meaning.

The photo with this posting today was probably taken somewhere outside of the the SWCS campus on Hunt Road, but could have been taken at Moonbrook golf course, I suppose, the only course can remember.

It seems to me we had an after-prom(?) party at Moonbrook and there were legends about couples who wandered out onto the greens to, well, look at the stars.

The only member of the Class of '66 in this shot is Jim Jackson, whose name I believe is on the list of people still being sought for the reunion next summer.

I remember that his dad was a city councilman - maybe in Celeron - and that Jim was a whiz kid in math class. (Compared to me, anyway.)

Senior year, when by some mishap I was writing sports for The Trojan - I remember having to write up a story about the golf team and being completely lost with the terminology. I went to Golf Coach Gene Munson - who also was my guidance counselor - and got yet another lecture about my long list of shortcomings. He was the same guy who first put me in honors classes and then later decided my future was more likely as a delivery driver.

Next to Jim in the picture is Bob Johnson, whose mom was the postmaster in Lakewood.

The last time I saw Bob he whipped me in badminton and then also nailed me in fencing class.

Never did a golf match with him.