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  • Reebok Thoughts

    I attended the Reebok for the first time this year. This was one terrific meet with a lot of early-season world bests. Unfortunately, the capacity crowd was pretty much non-responsive to the great performances.

    While I can't fault the promoters for doing their best to fill the stands and to raise enthusiasm by having an on-field cheerleader, the simple fact is that the Jamaicans who made up the large percentage of the crowd just don't give a damn about anyone not wearing the colors of Jamaica. As the afternoon wore on and the Jamaicans were getting clobbered by US sprinters, the mood of the crowd became surly to the point that Tyson Gay's terrific performance was hardly acknowledged. Nor were any of the winners of other events met with much more than scattered applause. This crowd paid almost no attention to any race or event that didn't include a Jamaican; and if the race/event did include a Jamaican, there was no applause for the winner. It got to the point that I was quietly rooting against the Jamaican sprinters due to the impolite attitude of their countrymen. These folks aren't track fans and no amount of prodding by the announcer would keep them quiet for the start or in their seats for the races. I'm convinced that if Jamaica's track fortunes faded tomorrow and the ping pong team became a world leader, the same fans would fill Madison Square Garden for ping pong championships and forget about track entirely.

    It'll be a pleasure to return to Hayward this week and be amongst a crowd that acknowledges terrific performances, regardless of what colors the athletes are wearing.

  • #2
    I do agree with some of the sentiment. The mood of folks who attend the meet solely for patriotism takes away from the event itself. However, this meet is quietly becoming one of the better meets out there.

    My suggestion is for the US support to start showing up. Why is there a need to accept what the jamaican contingent will do as worthwile for a sport that involves athletes from many different nations. I support great T&F, regardless. And while there was a large atmoshpere of folks doing that, there were some loyal T&F fans FROM Jamaica or of jamaican decent who gave respect to good performances.

    However, most only knew of what happened at the Olympics and forgot about anything else. Me and a coupld of friends went to dinner afterwards and were talking about the results and Gay's 19.58, and this dude who doesn't even pay attention to the sport started mouthing off as if Gay is always pulling up injured...I was like dude..."Wrong athlete and wrong country!" And kept it moving.

    At any rate, the meet was a great one and I hope more fans of the sport will attend in the future. So all you americans, come on out and support the home team next time!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Reebok Thoughts

      The implication here is that the vast percentage in attendance were Jamaican fans. But couldn't it be there were US fans there too but they are just not as vocal or knowledgeable?

      As to Gay's race, couldn't it just be due to ignorance that the crowd did not respond? I remember seeing Johnson's 19.85 in Edinburgh and jumping out of my seat only to find myself being the only one to be screaming. I can only conclude that no one really knew how good a performance that had been.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Reebok Thoughts

        Originally posted by Daisy
        The implication here is that the vast percentage in attendance were Jamaican fans. But couldn't it be there were US fans there too but they are just not as vocal or knowledgeable?

        As to Gay's race, couldn't it just be due to ignorance that the crowd did not respond? I remember seeing Johnson's 19.85 in Edinburgh and jumping out of my seat only to find myself being the only one to be screaming. I can only conclude that no one really knew how good a performance that had been.
        Well, with the announcer (Scott Davis) going crazy and letting everyone know it was the third best performance of all time, I would think that would have inspired even an unknowledgeable fan to realize he/she had witnessed something spectacular. After the race, Gay was interviewed on the field and did get some polite applause, but much less than he deserved. I would guess that 70% of the crowd was Jamaican (more like 90% in my section), so I couldn't really tell what sort of reaction the American fans were having, since we were few and far between. I did speak with some enthusiastic Yanks on the bus after the meet and we all agreed that this was a meet that needed to be built upon to bring it up to the crowd enthusiasm levels of meets in Europe.

        While employing a field announcer/cheerleader seemed a bit hokey at first, I'm glad the promoters were at least making some effort to get the fans more involved. Perhaps some of the nationalistic fans who show up year after year will learn to appreciate a beautiful performance on its own merits and if it takes a little prodding, that's OK with me.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't know where you folks were, but where I was sitting (at the head of the straight) there was great excitement about Gay's run by fans of all sorts. The West Indian ladies next to me were actually jumping up and down by the end of the race. And many of the other performances in the meet were met with similar enthusiasm. Goodness knows all of the people around me were cheering for the women's pole vault (with no Jamaican participants) that was going on right in front of us.

          Having said that, I certainly don't blame Jamaicans for being excited to watch their countrymen and women compete, and cheering hard for those athletes. This meet and Penn are the only time when many Jamaicans in our local communities get to see their stars in person, and these meets (Penn particularly) have become big social events in the West Indian communities. Certainly Jamaicans and Jamaican-Americans on average are much bigger fans of our sport than most other Americans are, and are willing to show up and pay the freight to support all the athletes at this great meet. Things like this are all part of living in a multi-cultural area like NYC.

          Having been to several Olympics and World Championships and watched many Americans in the crowd pay scant or no attention to events that don't involve U.S. athletes I would not be so fast to criticize fans of other countries for partisan behavior.

          Comment


          • #6
            I was at Reebok as well. My 4th consecutive year.

            Observations:

            Meet has improved in 2 key areas over the 4 years:
            - overall quality and depth of performances
            - crowd size has increased each year

            2009, by far, had the best level and intensity of competition. lots of world class level races that were very close and exciting to watch. this was great.

            - I have noticed that the largely Jamaican and/or Jamaican-American crowd responses to great performances by non-Jamaican athletes is a little muted. Many of the Jamaican stars got beat Saturday, so this did noticeably dampen some of the crowd enthusiasm.

            - that said, the crowd was loud and went wild over Tyson Gay's race
            - and, though the Jamaican crowd was most vocal in support of Jamaican athletes, there was lots of yelling, cheering and applause throughout the meet. Respect was shown for all the athletes.

            - the MC/cheerleader out on the field struggled. SHE ASKED TOO MANY QUESTIONS! She was not great. Lewis Johnson, from previous meets, was much, much, much better at involving the crowd in the competition.

            - the stadium Announcer is actually good, but he could do more to bring the crowd's attention to the start of races, a pole vaulter, etc.

            - ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS MEET, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT TAKES THE CROWD OUT OUT THE RACES IS THE STUPID MUSIC THAT THEY PLAY DURING THE BLOODY RACES.

            why do they think that playing music during a close and exciting 400 meter race makes it any more exciting or fun????

            I am absolutely convinced that playing the music DURING races has the psychological effect on the crowd of distraction - it takes the crowd out of the race!

            - one last thing: the meet promoters must do more to bring more casual New York City sports fans. this meet will have a better overall atmosphere if it does not feel like a home meet for Jamaica. I love the largely Jamaican crowd, and I cheer for the Jamaican athletes, but the stadium needs greater numbers of fans that just appreciate and cheer for whatever performance they are seeing (i.e., yes, a bit more like Eugene Oregon or the good European meets).

            Comment


            • #7
              I hate the stupid music. They do the same thing at Millrose now too. I don't understand the need for it at all or understand why anyone thinks it enhances the experience or excitement of the sport itself. And I agree that it actually seems to dampen the crowd's response.

              Comment


              • #8
                I actually like the music being played/used in meetings like this. However, the "DJ" should know that events 400m's or less should not have any sort of interference. Even maybe the 800m's, but all races greater could stand to use that sort of infusion.

                Also, not sure why Lewis Johnson wasn't recruited for this event again, he is a veteran, but I think that was Meredith Rainey? (former US 800m champ and US- middle distance all-timer) is a new comer and I suppose that with more opportunities she will become better.

                There should be some more introductions of new faces in the sport IMO.

                I think the US fans need to stand up and cheer more however!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have yet to make this meet, but from the responses, and watching it on TV, I am convinced that Reebok is using Penn's business model. Given the continued success at Penn with the Jamaican crowd, Reebok is only targeting a demographic that WILL put behinds in the seats. Reebok even took Penn's model further, with a High School boys 4x4 that featured St. Jago, Calabar and Kingston College!

                  And given the fact that two of America's largest Carribean neighborhoods are in this city (Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Wakefield, Bronx), it was obvious what Reebok was doing.

                  As for the music, like I said, I have not attended a meet. But it's my understanding that after Usain popped 9.72, the DJ dropped Bob Marley's "Jammin", to which the Jamaicans, already upbeat over the mark, lost their minds!!!!!!!!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by knite
                    I actually like the music being played/used in meetings like this. However, the "DJ" should know that events 400m's or less should not have any sort of interference. Even maybe the 800m's, but all races greater could stand to use that sort of infusion.

                    Also, not sure why Lewis Johnson wasn't recruited for this event again, he is a veteran, but I think that was Meredith Rainey? (former US 800m champ and US- middle distance all-timer) is a new comer and I suppose that with more opportunities she will become better.

                    There should be some more introductions of new faces in the sport IMO.

                    I think the US fans need to stand up and cheer more however!
                    Lewis Johnson was part of the TV broadcast in the commentary booth.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by trackhead
                      Originally posted by knite
                      I actually like the music being played/used in meetings like this. However, the "DJ" should know that events 400m's or less should not have any sort of interference. Even maybe the 800m's, but all races greater could stand to use that sort of infusion.

                      Also, not sure why Lewis Johnson wasn't recruited for this event again, he is a veteran, but I think that was Meredith Rainey? (former US 800m champ and US- middle distance all-timer) is a new comer and I suppose that with more opportunities she will become better.

                      There should be some more introductions of new faces in the sport IMO.

                      I think the US fans need to stand up and cheer more however!
                      Lewis Johnson was part of the TV broadcast in the commentary booth.
                      Aahhh gotcha, being at the meet live didn't yield us fans with the opportunity to listen/see him commentate.

                      I would like to see Inger Miller perform these tasks! Easy on the eyes and has a excellent speaking voice!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by einnod23
                        I have yet to make this meet, but from the responses, and watching it on TV, I am convinced that Reebok is using Penn's business model. Given the continued success at Penn with the Jamaican crowd, Reebok is only targeting a demographic that WILL put behinds in the seats. Reebok even took Penn's model further, with a High School boys 4x4 that featured St. Jago, Calabar and Kingston College!

                        And given the fact that two of America's largest Carribean neighborhoods are in this city (Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Wakefield, Bronx), it was obvious what Reebok was doing.

                        As for the music, like I said, I have not attended a meet. But it's my understanding that after Usain popped 9.72, the DJ dropped Bob Marley's "Jammin", to which the Jamaicans, already upbeat over the mark, lost their minds!!!!!!!!!!!
                        LOL!!! One thing we can say is that the West Indians show support. I wish people from other nationalites came out to show support like they do.

                        It's sad that you have Knite come up from DC for the meet and you have some "track fan" in Queens who choose to stay at home. We can't expect the rest of the US to show support if we don't.
                        Afrikan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Reebok Thoughts

                          Originally posted by bruce3404
                          I attended the Reebok for the first time this year. This was one terrific meet with a lot of early-season world bests. Unfortunately, the capacity crowd was pretty much non-responsive to the great performances.

                          While I can't fault the promoters for doing their best to fill the stands and to raise enthusiasm by having an on-field cheerleader, the simple fact is that the Jamaicans who made up the large percentage of the crowd just don't give a damn about anyone not wearing the colors of Jamaica. .
                          Not to be technical, but the athletes were wearing the colors of their sponsors.

                          The meet as well presented on TV, IMO.

                          And if wasnt clear before, you can tell by the presentation and acknowledgemnt of the athletes that Adidas owns Reebok.
                          The fool has said...there is no God. Psa 14

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This meet has been a thrill to attend the past 2 yrs, I can't imagine not going next yr. Its really an enjoyable event.

                            I would implore more folks to attend this meet next yr, and witness in person for yourselves. Also the athletes are very approachable and willing to speak to fans as well.

                            Mark it on your calendars!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Reebok Thoughts

                              I too attended the RGP for the first time and I really enjoyed myself. However, I have to disagree with your conception of the Jamaican crowd. Being a Jamaican myself, and a lover of track and field, I've had the opportunity to have firsthand experience at both meets here and back home in Jamaica...True enough we are widely patriotic and will cuss out someone in a heartbeat for our people, however, it is wrong to take the response of some fairweather track fans and group all of us into one category. We cheer for other athletes no matter the country and we do recognize great performances, however, you're gonna have your exception to the masses no matter what country you represent... I heard Jamaicans booing lauryn Williams while she was warming up for the 100m and I told them to shut-up and quit being disrespectful, but then I realize after listening to their conversations that they weren't true fans, they just got caught up in the hype of Bolt's performance last year and then our success at the Olympics...many came to Reebok to be a part of this, and when this didn't happen, they didn't know what to do. many were disappointed, but a real track fan knows what this means...this is nothing new for us...If Jamaica didn't have the Olympics that we had last year, it would have been business as usual for the US, it's not like we're not used to being beaten up by you guys early season...Heck the season pretty much started off like this last year, with the exception of the freak storm called Bolt...everyone else was still getting their butts whooped...

                              many people appreciated and enjoyed Tyson's performance. I for one think that this was the wake-up performance that Bolt needed to get himself together. he had said that he was lacking motivation after the Olympics he had, and while he says he doesn't worry about what other people are running, I'm pretty sure he's paying attention. He wants to be a legend, now he has the sorta competition he needs in Tyson Gay to be all that he can be, to push him beyond his limits.

                              Another thing about your post is that it seemed people were depending on the jamaican supporters to make the meet "crunk" or exciting. If the US supporters were there in full swing and cheering on their athletes, it should not make a difference whether or not the jamaicans cheered. There should have been a resounding cheer when Tyson ran that superb 19.58, that the jamaicans would be forgotten. This shows who the real supporters of track are. And as far as if our track program faded tommorrow what we would do, then that's a skewed assessment. The real fans support regardless of whether or not we are on top. But I have to say, whether fairweather fans or die-hearted supporters, JAMAICANS show up to support their countrymen. It could be from spelling bee to skiing, once we know our people are in an event, we show up to support, even if we have no understanding of the event taking place. Say what you want about us, but we are patriotic to the end.

                              On a side note---now you have an idea of how frustrated we feel when we have to rely on the watered down coverage by NBC, and watch SOME of our athletes get passed over for interviews even when they win races.
                              ~ I bleed BLACK, GREEN, and YELLOW~

                              Comment

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