Think of track and field, and images of people running, jumping, and throwing come to mind. Sprinters running circles at mind-blowing speed; athletes clearing impossible heights with the grace of an animal on the hunt; inhumanly strong competitors heaving heavy objects large distances. The sport is called track and field for the combination of running (track) and throwing and jumping (field). This year, however, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s track and field team is competing without the brawn. The team has no throwers.
The men’s team is heavy with distance and mid-distance runners, with a smattering of sprinters and jumpers. But oddly enough, on any given day of the week, you will only find women practicing in the throwing areas of the track facilities. Where have all the men gone?
No real explanation exists. However, some theories revolve around athletes’ dedication to a primary sport.
Head Coach Tony Boston said, “A lot of guys focus on their main sport, and even though they’re at a D-3 school, think they can’t partake in another sport during a different season.”
When people are already involved in a specific sport – say, football – they often don’t want to take potential training time from that sport and apply it elsewhere.
On the other hand, this reporter thinks that these athletes should consider something I will call “complimentary benefits.”
When I say “complementary benefits,” I refer to the advantages that training for another sport can potentially provide. Consider, for example, what might come from doing track in the spring. If one is a hefty football player, one might be expected to spend the springtime lifting weights. However, think of this: track runners – especially sprinters – lift weights, too. How else do they become so strong and apply so much power via their legs over such a short period of time and distance? Another thing: positive mental side effects can emerge from participating in track, even such a short event as the 100 metres.
Duncan Hussey PO ’13 said, “I love football. But I hate the idea of having to run the football back for a touchdown – 100 yards just seems so far.”
Jake Rollins PO ’13 said something similar: “I was looking to improve my speed off of the line of scrimmage and having done track in high school, figured I might as well come out for the team here.”
There you have it. 100 meters is longer than 100 yards. So football players, come on out for the team. If you sprint, running a football back will seem like a much easier task. Furthermore, as Rollins said, nailing the start out of blocks will guarantee faster speed off the line at the start of a play. Therefore one’s offensive game, as a whole, benefits. Basketball players and any other athletes looking to stay in shape during the off-season should consider participating in track for similar reasons.
As another benefit, the track team is one highly steeped in tradition and success. Sure, those are canned words, but there exists a grain of truth to them. Ever heard the name Will Leer? He is a Pomona alumnus who happened to finish fourth at the most recent Olympic trials. Look him up, it’s legit.
The real need, however, is for throwers and field event participants.
Think about it this way: how would the football team like to walk into every game with the score already set to 0-36? How would the swim team feel in a similar situation? Lacrosse, water polo, and baseball – all these sports begin with the game tied at zero. The men’s track team, however, walks into every meet trailing by a deficit of 36 points. How is this possible? The answer lies in the field events – or lack thereof. Nine points per event, five for first, three for second, and one for third, with four throwing events contested on the field, means that even against the worst of the worst (*cough* Caltech *cough*) P-P is instantaneously down 36 points – a hefty margin to overcome, regardless of the ability of the opposing team. To place anywhere near the top of the conference, as is a team tradition, the track team really does outdo itself – a fact not many people realize.
If only we had a hero… and trust me, we’re holdin’ out for a hero ‘til the end of the night, who’s strong and fast, and fresh from the fight. If only he were in possession of copious amounts of testosterone, to be used for hurling an iron weight an inordinate distance… Ahh, wishful thinking. Nonetheless, I beg men, all men, on the Pomona and Pitzer campuses – get your rage on, and throw for the track team! Put the field back in track and field. The team is even better than numbers suggest, and you’ll get to lift your weights and improve your football speed. Just help us bring home a SCIAC title in the process.