FALSE START #A by David E. Ortman


We are interrupting this sometimes witty and clever series of columns to address the following question: "How can we get more people to pay more attention to Track and Field?"

Simple. Monica Lewinsky pole vaulting.

O.K.. Hereís another approach. Last time I looked, Congress had given the Pentagon a hefty $8 billion in additional funding they never asked for. Donít ask me why the Pentagon gets billions MORE than requested when other governmental services get far LESS than requested. But, since the Pentagon has all these extra billions floating around, we need to get them to spend some of it on Track & Field before it is all invoiced to $900 pliers and $600 toilet seats.

What we need is for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to beef up their Track and Field program. Everybody knows that the Army, Navy and Air Force have football teams. How many people know they also have Track & Field? Check it out: http://www-p.afsv.af.mil/AFSports/Sports/TrackandField.htm http://www.navysports.com/sports/mtrack/ or http://goarmysports.collegesports.com/sports/c-track/army-c-track-body.html

Next time a Masters Track and Field meet is scheduled for your area call up your local military base and/or reserve outfit and challenge them to send out everyone over 30 for a little competition. After all, the Javelin is an Olympic event that comes straight out of the ancient military and Olympic tradition.

There has also been a flurry of masters T&F e-mail on a related subject: Could or should travel expenses be paid to help athletes attend National and World Masters Championships? The suggestions include setting up a Foundation, raising money locally and working with sponsors such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

A recent Masters T&F Web Poll asked the following questions:

  1. Should we raise money to send our best Masters athletes to championship meets?

    Please select one of the following:

    o YES (We need to insure that our best competitors participate in our championship meets.

    o NO (People should pay their own way or use their own methods to obtain sponsors.

  2. How should money be raised?

    Please select one or more of the following:

    o Grass roots donations by fellow athletes

    o Corporate sponsors

    o In-kind donations by air, hotel, & car rental companies

    o Any/all of the above

  3. Who should get the money?

    Please select one of the following:

    o Top age-graded performers

    o Regional competition winners

    o Defending champions

  4. How should the money be administered?

    Please select one of the following:

    o A new, independent non-profit foundation

    o Under the auspices of USATF

My opinion is that any additional support, be it from a Foundation or sponsors, would be welcome. I would urge that as a first step any money raised be used to eliminate meet entry fees. This would be the fairest way to spread benefits to a wider assortment of athletes than just travel expenses for defending champions. A stipend for officials would also be appropriate.

[NOTE: Check out the 12 July 1999 Sports Illustrated. Kenny Moore has an article "Move Over, Maurice Greene" on Erwin Jaskulski and his recent M95 100m World Record of 24.01.]

© Copyright 1999, David E. Ortman

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