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Generating Public Interest in North America

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  • Generating Public Interest in North America

    OK, was at a Blue Jays game on Sunday and thought, wouldn't it be kewl to see a baseball throwing competition between the 5 most wicked arms in baseball vs. the top 5 spear chuckers in the world. And how about vertical jumping contests between a few top NBA dudes and the best high jumpers? 40 or 60 yard dashes, tugs of war between strongest football players and a bunch of putters/discus throwers? And if you've ever watched speed skating, they go off a pair at a time, each race is closely matched, each race is A RACE (! imagine that!) and there's barely room to savour the excitement of one matchup before the next pair go off. Track could learn SOOOOO much from a bit of innovative divergent cranial activity.

  • #2
    Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

    >OK, was at a Blue Jays game on Sunday and
    >thought, wouldn't it be kewl to see a baseball
    >throwing competition between the 5 most wicked
    >arms in baseball vs. the top 5 spear chuckers in
    >the world. And how about vertical jumping
    >contests between a few top NBA dudes and the best
    >high jumpers? 40 or 60 yard dashes, tugs of war
    >between strongest football players and a bunch of
    >putters/discus throwers?

    You canNOT be serious!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

      Well since you left out the part about speed skating, on that note I am more than serious. Track sprints are BORING compared to speed skating. Ever watched speed skating? The action DOES NOT STOP. Not for wobbly feet, not to get umpteen people ready over and over only to eliminate most of them, not to watch 8 or 9 people line up to see a 2 or 3 person race, if you are lucky. And why not a ball throw between people from 2 different sports who both are great at throwing? Is that too crass for your purist sentiments?

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      • #4
        Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

        I've got to agree with Mac on this one. I'm not sure the "Pros" could handle the humiliation of getting beat by a track star. As far as public interest is concerned, the most likely reaction would be, "Wow, that guy jumps pretty high! Suppose he'd be any good at basketball?

        Regarding speedskating... Don't they go off in pairs because it would be pretty difficult to build a track big enough to accommadate more? Aren't the lanes probably 4-5 times wider? Plus, they do have short track speed skating. I do like to watch speedskating, but I don't see it working for track.

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        • #5
          Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

          "Track sprints are BORING compared to speed skating."

          HUH??

          This strikes me as one of the most bizarre things I've ever heard a supposed track fan say.

          Speed skating competitions are straight timed competitions. The skaters skate in pairs for the convenience of moving the competition along, but they are not match races. So watching such a competition is essentially the equivalent of watching dozens of small NCCA-style timed section finals (and don't get me started on that abomination...). But the essence and excitement of track is (or should be) that it's a RACE. First person to the finish line wins -- simple, no ifs ands or buts about it. I'm hard-pressed to see how what is essentially a time trial could be seen in any way as more exciting than a race.

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          • #6
            Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

            They are paired according to time and it effectively is multiple two-person races. Most of the 2-person matchups are quite exciting to watch because they are usually fairly close especially in the shorter sprints. You're right, short-track skating has multiple players and it is all about staying on your feet and hardly about who's the faster skater (which is why long track gets the attention). Something experimental was done with a 2 person final in the 60 metres at I believe the Millrose Games a few years back. Inger Miller was one of the 2 finalists. The advantage of cutting out so many runners in races is that the "race" ends up being between SOME of the people on the track with the rest being album filler.

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            • #7
              Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

              PS I'm not afraid to go out on a limb regarding how track is presented to the public. Of course some of these things will strike some people as bizarre, because, frankly, they are pretty off the beaten path. Yeah, and?

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              • #8
                Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                wouldn't it be kewl to see a baseball
                >throwing competition between the 5 most wicked
                >arms in baseball vs. the top 5 spear chuckers in
                >the world. And how about vertical jumping
                >contests between a few top NBA dudes and the best
                >high jumpers? 40 or 60 yard dashes, tugs of war
                >between strongest football players and a bunch of
                >putters/discus throwers?

                I like these ideas, but you would have to put up a lot of money to get the Maurice Greenes of the world to risk their season for what would be an exhibition event. Why doesn't USATF approach the NFL about getting some of their stars to compete in the regular Golden Spike events? Many of them are former track athletes and it would provide them with an incentive to stay in shape during the off season.

                Another thing USATF could do to attract more male fans is play up the women in T&F. Let's face it, no other sport can compete with ours for the number of fit scantily clad babes that are on display. I know a lot of you guys out there have had your binoculars focussed on the women's HJ and PV just because that's where the hottest bodies are (I've sat near the Aggies at Nationals so don't try to tell me you aren't doing this). I'm not saying that they should be competing in bikini's but certainly they could broadcast more of the jumps instead of just the winners and give us some close-ups during warm-ups and other "dead air" times. They could also focus on the women in advertising and an annual (beach?) calendar wouldn't be a bad idea.

                Uh-oh my wife just walked into the room....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                  How about a 4x400 with your top man and woman, plus another man and woman chosen from the following events: 400 hurdles, 200 and 800.

                  How about the high hurdles winner against the 400 hurdles winner in a 200 hurdles race?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                    We did all this in the 60's and 70's with "Superstars". Track always won, but then again, the football/baseball/basketball players didn't care cuz they had their big fat millions anyway.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                      I'd still like to see some meets with some different events where something like Allen Johnson vs Felix Sanchez in a 200 hurdles was on the program. This might not necessarily do anything re interest in the sport and the general public, but it would be eagerly anticipated by alot of track fans. I'll probably hear flack from some people like "Oh then they'd have to train for a different event and they might injure themselves blah blah blah".
                      Or maybe not.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                        "the "race" ends up being between SOME of the people on the track with the rest being album filler"

                        ...well, unless a "filler" like Kim Collins sneaks up on the inside and happens to snatch away the world championship...

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                        • #13
                          Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                          Point taken. I posted on another thread that I like the 4x400 best because of the multiple exciting races going on simultaneously. I think track would be alot more exciting if there was much less time between heats and less people in the heats, hence my idea of the longtrack speedskating model as a conceptual starting point.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                            If you go to the big invitational meets like those in Europe, or even like the Milrose Games here in NYC I think you'll find that there is much less time between races (and, of course, few or no heats) than there is in multi-day championship meets like the WC or OG. As Garry mentioned in the "Bang for the Buck" thread, the programs in these meets have now become even more stretched out with the advent of the 9 day schedule and looser qualifying standards, and I very much agree that they could certainly be compacted.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Generating Public Interest in North America

                              Just a little message for Trackwayne:

                              Seems to me this might be something you would find interesting...I don't know if you have seen the vault girls calender but you can order yourself one at www.vaultgirls.com if you'd like.

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