Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Fan's Track Manifesto

A frenzied rant. One man’s insane vision for the sport. This is the unleashing of my inner Ted Kaczynski.

I’m dropping my Track Manifesto –- the gospel according to the Track Evangelist. It’s my list of 27 profound track and field beliefs.

As track fans, we have one thing in common: A passion for the world’s most exciting sport – a passion that keeps us coming back for more, no matter how frustrated we get.

So, with no further delay—and in no particular order—here are the 27 top reasons I’m back in the arms of the greatest sport there is.

  1. I believe that I’m done explaining why I am an enthusiastic track fan. But that’s not going to stop me from writing about it religiously.

  2. I believe track and field is the greatest sport on the planet. Yes, it’s even better than the International Strongman Competitions on ESPN. Hard to believe, huh?

  3. I believe track athletes are the toughest athletes in the world. What we call a sport, other athletes consider punishment.

  4. I believe that it is my right to purchase $7 beers at all professional track meets. Beer and sporting events are as American as apple pie. Just because the Visa Series Championship meets are held on college campuses is no reason to keep me from fermented hops.

  5. I believe that if Atlanta is “Chocolate City” then Texas Relays is “Track Mecca”. The stadium is electric – it’s a car show, a fashion runway, the hottest nightlife and a stunning display of athletic prowess all in one weekend. Texas Relays – it’s what track can be in America if we all put our passion behind it.

  6. I believe that Kanye West would make ‘em say the sport must become socially relevant to go to the next level. Cuz it’s all ‘bout goin’ to the next level, right?

  7. I believe the sports’ future is Lindsay Lohan. Attracting hot, young, out-of-control fans is what it’s all about. A sexy NASCAR for people without beer bellies. Panties optional.

  8. I believe that track must be like Halle Berry. Entertaining and engaging. And pregnant – with possibilities, that is…

  9. I believe Marion Jones is the Jay Leno monologue of track -- a joke that’s not particularly funny. Track fans wish she would stop talking and go far away. Enough said.

  10. I believe anyone who doesn’t watch the World Championships is seriously missing out. With each step around this massive global stage, athletes are leaving their footprints in the pantheon of track history.

  11. I believe Flo Jo may be the greatest track athlete name EVER. It’s got style, meaning and flash all in just five letters.

  12. I believe Jackie Joyner-Kersee is the greatest all-around female athlete ever. She scored 1,000 points during her UCLA hoops career and struck Olympic gold in the heptathlon, long jump and 100m hurdles. All without “flaxseed oil”, Marion.

  13. I believe the penalty for testing positive should be a meeting with Joe Clark and his bat in the principal’s office.

  14. I believe Mike Conley, Jr. would contend for the 100-meter title today if track was his thing. Amazing! He dribbled as fast as defenders could run alongside him during 2005 NCAA March Madness.

  15. I believe Jesse Owens is the best-remembered Olympic star of all time. Not because he ran faster than any of Hitler’s Aryan army, but because he ran better than anyone else ever. He ran right into history without choking.

  16. I believe indoor track should have only one track size. Burn the rest. Track is about running – not math. Get rid of the time adjustments. It’s just confusing and is another way the sport keeps itself from being accessible to the casual fan.

  17. I believe Denzel Washington would make a great track commissioner. Man, can Denzel deliver a speech. Do you Remember the Titans? I do.

  18. I believe that the media is piling on. Where is the love? Track has its’ issues, but at least the sport’s athletes are not constantly on police blotters, and track isn’t dogged by accusations that the games are fixed by game officials.

  19. I believe I shall call for Clyde Hart to be nicknamed “The Quarter-Miler Whisperer.” He makes coaching back-to-back 400 meter Olympic champions look easy.

  20. I believe the mile should be run at American meets. Everyone can relate to a mile.

  21. I believe Allyson Felix and Sanya Richardson are professional track & field’s G-Girls. These young, rich and beautiful females are burning up tracks around the world.

  22. I believe that there will never be another Carl Lewis. Carl was a brilliant sprinter and flawless long jumper. He went 10 years undefeated in the long jump. Although he didn’t win over all the fans, he maybe saved his best for last in winning his 9th gold medal at the ripe age of 35.

  23. I believe Penn Relays is the most entertaining track meet. Texas Relays may have the cars, the clothes and the nightlife – but Penn Relays is a carnival that attracts more than 100,000 fans and a sea of proud Jamaican supporters, mon.

  24. I believe Bernard Lagat will establish a new era of U.S. dominance on the middle distance scene. He proved he is for real by winning the 2007 World Championships in the 1,500 & 5,000 meters.

  25. I believe there is nothing more exciting than the countless camera flashes exploding throughout a sold-out stadium in the split-second before the starter’s gun goes off. It’s a singular moment that symbolizes the anticipation, speculation and possibilities of the seconds that will fly by once the runners hit their stride.

  26. I believe Michael Johnson is the Jay-Z of track & field. MJ’s reign over the sport is unparalleled: nearly a decade as track’s top man, a headline-grabbing duel in which he defeated Carl Lewis, a run of sprint domination that outlasted the rest of the pack. Michael retired at the top of his game and arguably as the richest track runner in history. MJ retired and then turned CEO & entrepreneur. Sound familiar?

  27. I believe every able-bodied adult knows that nervous feeling that comes over you as you step up to the starting line – any starting line: Prerace Jitters!

By Jay Hicks, a.k.a. Track Evangelist

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