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Bad Facilities / Crazy Happenings at Meets


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  • Bad Facilities / Crazy Happenings at Meets

    Fun Topic: What are some of the worst facilities and/or crazy things you've seen at meets? (I don't intend this to be an attack on people or places ,but more of a "Man, do you remember that meet when..." kinda thing.)

    Here's a few of mine:

    1. When I was in college we competed somewhere where there was a barb-wire fence about 7-8 feet behind the discus ring. You clearly were not going to hit the thing, but it always freaked everyone out a little as you threw.

    2. At a high school meet, we had horribly windy conditions - a kid who was at least 6-3, 240 won the 100M (he normally ran like 12.5) in a monster head-wind against a bunch of kids who were consistently in the mid 11 range. Big feller just plowed on through - it was hilarious.

    3. A local school had a shot ring that was literally a poured circle - not a square with a metal or sunken ring, a concrete circle. Grass would grow up over it. I was coaching a kid who was a spinner and throwing in the 55' range - the upper left part of the ring was overgrown with grass, moss, etc. -- we tried to scrape it off, but he just kept slipping. He just did power throws and won anyway.

  • #2
    Back in the day of all straddle high jumping, indoor pits and approach aprons frequently were shoved to one side of the track's interior, to give the LEFT footed takeoff guys more room. Since the left takeoffers were virtually all jumpers, we small-minority RIGHT foot jumpers were literally squeezed out. I recall one indoor meet somewhere that I could barely get a 5 step approach, and that was starting against a wall then approaching across the narrow indoor track.

    Then of course there were SAND pits.....


    • #3
      Originally posted by dukehjsteve
      Then of course there were SAND pits.....
      Yeah, I think I've already related the story of me being the first flopper in my neck of the woods (spring of 1969 - I taught myself from pictures of Fosbury). Most pits were blocks of foam loosely held together, but one pit was sawdust and that just doesn't hack it with the flop, so they had to forfeit the event to our team for an 'unsafe' event facility.


      • #4
        I arrived to work the LJ at a state HS meet, held at a HS facility, to find the 2' wide plywood takeoff board so badly worn I deemed it unusable. I turned it over and discovered it had already been turned and the other side was worse.. The 1" plywood board was like a mini-trampoline.
        The start of the LJ was delayed while I went to a local lumberyard, had them fabricate a new board, bought a can of white spray paint and we were back in business. ..That was years ago...I wonder if they are still using that board.

        I was also at a HS meet where Kevin Bookout, who had pitched a baseball game that morning sixty miles away, threw the shot over the 4 foot chain link safety fence at the outer edge of the SP area. I don't recall just how they measured the throw, possibly threaded the tape through the chain link fence..
        didn't much matter, he won by about 20 feet.


        • #5
          Of course I've been around a little longer than some but these things come to mind (not even counting the several times hurdles have been at the wrong height or wrong spacing or relay runers have been in the wrong lanes on handoffs):

          One relay race where not enough batons on hand so one team used what amounted to a paper towel cardboard roll which blew away when they dropped it and they chased it onto the infield trying to retrieve it.

          One HS track I ran on races started in a chute and you literally ran around the track right hand inside:

          Even U of Arizona (In the '50's) ran out of a chute on a narrow track and you cut for the pole even in the 400's, and part of one curve ran under the stands (at least it was left hand inside!):

          I remeber once at Alamosa where (also in the '60's) on a 12 lap artificial grass track (part of an indoor football practice facility) they started 29 age group half milers in an 880 yd run (no spikes). Better be in the front row. One 11 year old was heard to say after the race, "What a gyp".

          At Boulder in the '60's indoors they only had a 2 lane dirt track which ran behind the bleachers at one end. They also ran 2 lane hurdle and sprint races because there was a wooden basketball court in the middle. There was also a LJ pit on one straight which runners actually ran through if they happened to be running in lane 2:

          1963 Outdoor NCAA's Tommy O'Hara was DQ'd after winning the mile because he cut too soon when starting from "boxes" (Quite uncommon too start this way in college and was probably the only time he had done it that year). Much like what happened at Berlin this year in the 10K except no one was DQ'd. That race also started and finished at a line in the middle of the straight (which was actually quite common at that time).


          • #6


            • #7
              There's a local HS stadium where the easiest access is a dirt/grass strip next to RR tracks. People pull up & park next to the fence separating the stadium area from the tracks. I make sure not to park near the discus area, because every few years a right-hander throws one with a remarkable "slice" that curls over the fence and through someone's windshield.