Shots in the Darke
I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed watching the World Track Championships the past week or so. Tremendous competition, world records, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat were all on display in Eugene, Oregon. Historic Hayward Field, a true temple for track and field enthusiasts, was the site of the Championships and a spectacular setting for the competition.
Two truly outstanding performances were turned in by Americans Sydney McLaughlin and Athing Mu in track events. McLaughlin blew away the field in the 400 meter hurdles, setting a new world’s record time of 50.68 seconds, the fourth time she has broken the previous marks in the past thirteen months. A prodigy since early in her high school years, the 22-year-old added the World title to go along with her gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Remember that 50.68 was one lap around the track with ten hurdles along the way!
Mu from Trenton, New Jersey held off a strong challenge from Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson down the final 100 meters to win the 800 meters in 1:56.30 to add to her gold medal from Tokyo. Think of that time in terms of running fifteen miles per hour for almost two minutes—the 800 is track’s most vicious race, a combination of part sprint, part distance, and part strategy. And the 20-year-old is just starting to reach her potential!
Speaking of track and field, veteran GHS coach Bill Plessinger once again hosted a large turnout of future athletes at his annual summer camp the past week. It’s always interesting to project the possibilities down the road a few years for camp attendees as true athleticism starts to emerge from the youngsters.
The countdown is on for high school fall sports as the first official day of practice for all teams is Monday August 1st. Golf, soccer, cross country, girls tennis, volleyball, and football practices all start as hope springs eternal for all young competitors. Oh, and don’t forget band practices and cheerleader competitions—Friday night lights are less than four weeks away!
Bengals, Browns, and Colts training camps along with the rest of the NFL franchises open this week. The Bengals are coming off of last season’s Super Bowl appearance with high hopes and snazzy new alternative helmets, white with orange or black stripes. The Browns on the other hand hope to finally live up to their hype, albeit with a huge question mark at quarterback with the probable oncoming suspension of Deshaun Watson. And the Colts look to have a great season with a new QB, the veteran Matt Ryan coming to town after a long career with the Falcons. Are you ready for some football?!?
Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium opened in 2000 and now the Bengals have an opportunity to sell naming rights for up to a projected $7 million. PBS has been one of only four stadiums in the NFL not to have a corporate name—can you name the other three? Answer to follow!
Houston’s Astros are quietly putting together another outstanding season, having a 64-32 record as they seek to return to the World Series for a second consecutive year. Only the suddenly faltering Yankees have a better mark in the AL at 66-31 while the Dodgers are a NL best at 64-30.
Finally, a shout out to my nephew, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mark Warner. He celebrated his 40th birthday by logging his 2,000th hour in the F-16 “Viper”. A flight instructor at Luke AFB in Arizona with several overseas deployments, he’ll become a 737 pilot for American Airlines in a few years after serving his country for over 20 years. He’s a true role model for future military aviators of all branches of service!
The other three stadiums without corporate names? Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears; Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs; and the “Frozen Tundra” of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, the home of the Packers! Have a great week, get outside and get active!