PLEASED, ……..But Not Satisfied !!!!

The warm-up area at the 2010 IAAF Indoor World Championships is actually a domed, air-conditioned, full-sized soccer field with seating for fans on either side. It is quite an impressive structure, which makes it consistent with everything else architectural about Doha. The meet had ended and the big cavernous building was slowly being emptied, as fans, officials, and athletes made their way to the exits. Seated in the middle of the soccer field, a position that offered a good vantage point to the giant monitor that beamed back all the action on the track during the meet, was Bobby Kersee, John Smith, and me. This is the position we had basically occupied during the three days of action because it allowed us to follow what was going on in the actual track and field stadium which was connected, but separate, from the warm-up area. The noise, excitement and electricity had left the building and still the three of us sat there quietly reflecting and reviewing what had taken place over the last three days of competition. Each of us was deeply into our own thoughts and analysis of what had taken place as regards athletes we coached at the meet and how we were going to move forward. It was unspoken and unwritten that this kind of privacy and personal introspection, even in this very public place,  was not to be broken, and each of us waited for the other to make the first move.
At the U.S. Indoor Nationals, Ginny Powell, who is coached by Bobby, had won the 60 meter hurdles, easily defeating Lolo Jones, who in turn won the IAAF 60 meter hurdles in a new American record time.  Ginny finished fourth in Doha. Lolo won the event despite almost not even qualifying in Doha the semifinals. She was the 8th qualifier. Carmelita, coached by John, had won the U.S. 60 meters and had a victory over Lavern Jones-Ferrette who most figured to be Carmelita’s biggest and best competition in Doha. Veronica Campbell, who had switched coaches, selecting someone that none of us knew, was not even considered in the mix.  David Oliver finished second to Terrence Trammell at the U.S. nationals, ran a very weak semifinal, and there was serious and legitimate concern about whether he could/would medal. Indoors is really not his strongest distance, but had he not improved over his semifinal performance ( in the final he finished 3rd in a new P.R. ) I would have ripped up his plane ticket and made him hitchhike back to Orlando, Florida. So there we three sat, deep into our own world of comparative and competitive thought and contemplation, all of us respecting each other’s privacy and were reluctant to speak.
As it turned out, none of us had to make the move. Veronica Campbell’s new coach came over to pay respects to John Smith and almost apologize for the fact that he coached the woman that beat Carmelita Jeter ( 3rd place ) in the 60 meters. John was terse in his response.
Thanks man, Veronica was the best out there today. Good job.
In the back of my mind I had to smile because I knew that the operative word in that statement was TODAY. No way was he going to accept defeat as anything but a fleeting phenomenon. That sort of broke the ice as Bobby and I exchanged knowing smirks. John caught us in the act and felt compelled to say something.
Like we say, “The only thing indoor track can do is to show us where OUTDOOR track is”. I can not wait until we get outside and she can really show what she has in the tank,… 10.50 or better is going to be in very serious jeopardy.
Bobby responded.
I told Ginny that she had to get close enough to the podium in a meet this big to first smell it. Then she can gear up and set herself up to get up on the podium. I think she did that.
I chimed in.
John, you are right, I can not wait to get outside. I think we are on schedule to challenge the world record with Oliver.
John reacted.
I feel the same way about Carmelita. Watch her times for the 100, but I think she will be a real factor for the 200 as well.
Bobby continued.
If I can just get Allyson Felix to buy into the 400, then I think she can get the American record. Ginny should not be that far behind if she keeps making the kind of progress she has demonstrated this indoor season.
My response.
David Oliver usually runs the last five hurdles in 5.50 seconds. Put that together with his 7.44 today and that gives us 12.94, and he has already run that,… right here in Doha in 2008. However, he feels he can run the last five hurdles in 5.40 and that means 12.84 and a new world record.
Other coaches, mostly foreign, who had observed Veronica’s coach approach the trio and escape unscathed , now felt comfortable in coming up and talking about the meet and all of the stuff they wanted to share with John and Bobby. The mood was gone,  and after a while it was time to leave and we trudged up the stairs toward the exit. As we approached the doors leading to the outside, we were pleased with what we had learned from the meet but knew we also had some serious challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Satisfaction is a very elusive and seductive thing. You are sucked into the idea that you will some day grasp satisfaction firmly in your hands,…. and are driven by that potentiality. However, reality is satisfaction is a very promiscuous and fleeting thing that knows no fidelity or master. But that does not deter us in the least.
Brooks T. Johnson
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