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First *real* track meet you attended?

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  • First *real* track meet you attended?

    Does everybody remember their first track meet? We all remember our first college football or Major League Baseball games, so why not first track meet? By "real" track meet, I mean a meet a little more important than some 3rd graders running on a cinder track.

    Mine is a little easier, since it was in the humble setting of Olympic Stadium in Montreal. I was in the 6th grade and don't remember the particulars, but that was my first meet. I guess track appealed to me from the very start because I remember thinking how neat it was, even though I didn't realize what was going on.

    My dad let my brother and I run around on the Metro whenever we wanted. These days you wouldn't do such a thing. I can't believe he allowed us to do it then! I remember the huge McDonald's Restaurant across the street from The Forum, where basketball was being held.

    I also remember wanting to be Bruce Jenner after seeing him win! I wrote him a letter asking for advice and received a typed, copied reply of 5 pages or so with advice. He obviously had gotten a few similar requests!

    Some great memories of Montreal. I started junior high the next year and that's when things in my life started to get confusing! ;-)

  • #2
    Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

    I've waxed nostalgic on this before:

    I was 12, and my father took me to the Millrose Games at the old Madison Square Garden, 35 miles away in the big city from my home town of Huntington, NY.

    We sat in the mezzanine section across from the finish line. We could not see the straightaway on our side, but otherwise had a great view of the Pole Vault right in front of us and everything else.

    Fell in love with The Whole Deal right then and there. I remember particularly Bob Richards setting a Millrose record at 15' 4" and Ron Delany winning the mile.

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    • #3
      Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

      The Mobil Invitational (indoor meet) at George Mason University in 1995.

      Saw Michael Johson run a very fast quarter and JJK win the hurdles.

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      • #4
        Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

        I had already run two years in HS before I saw a 'real' meet and in retrospect it wasn't much, but to me it was wicked cool. It was an indoor triangular between Yale-Harvard-Princeton. The Yale venue was dark, dank and dirty, but the smell of leg balm and sawdust (yep, for HJ and PV) and the sight of collegiate athletes (who looked like Olympian demi-gods to me, I think Calvin Hill was LJing) in full flight overwhelmed my senses and sold me on a future in T&F. It wasn't until I went to college that I saw a 'big' meet and that was the Indoor Examiner games in SF my freshman year at the Farm. I think Keino was running. They also had the 'devil-take-the-hindmost mile' which absolutely fascinated me.

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        • #5
          Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

          Probably 1960 in Boulder,Folsom Field, the National AAU Championships. It may have been part of the Olympic team selection process. Anyway, we went up there to watch Bobby Morrow and we were shocked to have someone else win. I remember thinking that it took alot of guts to run faster than the guy that was supposed to win. Maybe Norton didn't know about Morrow. I don't think that Morrow even placed.

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          • #6
            Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

            oletimer, back then the AAU in an Olympic year and the FOT were separate meets. FOT was at Stanford, a week later.

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            • #7
              Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

              Czechoslovakia-Hungary dual meet in Ostrava in 1951 or '52.
              "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
              by Thomas Henry Huxley

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              • #8
                Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                Pego, you must be OLD.....

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                • #9
                  Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                  Seems as though we are ALL geezers.

                  Median ages:

                  Dyestat - 15
                  Letsrun - 20
                  T&FN - 55!

                  (of course, I totally made those numbers up, but that's what it seems like)

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                  • #10
                    Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                    <Pego, you must be OLD.....>

                    Oh, boy....how true :-)
                    "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                    by Thomas Henry Huxley

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                    • #11
                      Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                      'Probably 1960 in Boulder,Folsom Field, the National AAU Championships'

                      I used to live in Boulder, so I find that interesting. Was there a track in Folsom Field in 1960? By 1968 it had moved to its present location, Potts Field, (see Robert Redford in 'Downhill Racer' to see what I mean).

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                      • #12
                        Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                        Despite running track in high school and zillions of road races, I never attended a "real" meet until the 1982 TAC meet in Knoxville. My biggest recollections were the accessibility of the athletes (Dwight Stones told me his performance had "sucked" that day; James Robinson flirted with my wife) and the absolute beauty of the women athletes. This was back in the day when we allowed foreigners to compete in our national meet and Henry Rono was listed in the program as having entered. I kept thinking that I saw him warming up, but it was not to be.

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                        • #13
                          Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                          1982, Europeans in Athens, last day of competition in the Panathinaikon Stadion waiting for the Marathon runners to finish. I remember the emotion of the crowds when Rosa Mota entered the stadium as the first woman to win a major international championship. The crows went even wilder when the first Greek lady finished almost an hour later (!). They had already started the closing ceremonies when Ms Papanastasiou entered the stadium well off above the 3 hours mark. There was a second Greek lady a little bit later.

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                          • #14
                            Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                            Going way back: summer 1960, Olympic tune-up meet at Mt.Sac. Ray Norton, John Thomas, Charley Dumas, et. al. And Ralph Boston broke Jesse Owens'WR ! What a great evening.

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                            • #15
                              Re: First *real* track meet you attended?

                              Dyestat - 15
                              Letsrun -
                              >20
                              T&FN - 55!

                              Well, we are in the Historical section.

                              My first track meet was the January 1964 Golden Gate Indoor games at the Cow Palace just south of San Francisco.

                              I had just run my first season of cross-country and had never even seen any kind of track meet. My parents let me go on an excursion organized by the cross country team captain. He even drove us in from the suburbs – No adults!

                              We caught a great race: world record holder Ron Clarke vs high schooler Gerry Lindgren in the two mile: 8:37 over 8:40. Caught balding Darrell Newman beating two US Olympians to be, Larry Questad and Jimmy Hines (also in HS) in the 60 yard dash. The great Parry O'Brien won the shot.

                              I think there was even a Devil-take-the-hindmost mile run, which inspired lots of practice fun in seasons to come.

                              By the time the track season started that Spring, I was reading the older guys' issues of T&FN and was hooked.

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