THE TRIO’S QUIET TRIUMPH

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, July 19, 2010

There we sat, John Smith, Bobby Kersee, and I. We were in the “Call Room” watching the “crowning of champions” at the Weltklasse/Zurich Meet, the Diamond League finals for the women’s 100, women’s 400, and men’s 110 meter hurdles. After a series of races in which points for placing were being tallied, the #1 athletes from these meets were being recognized and awarded a big trophy in the infield of the track in Zurich. Earlier this year John, Bobby and I had sat at the warm up track at the conclusion of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Qatar in a very quiet and reflective mood. None of us had athletes that produced the results we were hoping for.  There was enough success that we felt the future looked good, but there is no substitute for having it all right NOW. So we left Qatar with our minds swirling and twirling around how we were going to deliver on the pregnant promise of the summer.

So there we were sitting in the “Call Room” watching the proceedings on the track on the monitor that was available there. Outwardly we were were modestly and quietly smiling, but inside we were bursting and exploding with unabashed pride and  pleasure. Carmelita Jeter ( John ) was crowned #1 for the women’s 100. Allyson Felix ( Bobby ) was crowned #1 for 400. David Oliver was crowned #1 for 110 hurdles.  Three track-worldly coaches who had seen cautiously reserved promise and potential for the summer back in March, now were enjoying the reality and richness that culminated in that moment of recognized achievement. What an unadulterated experience !  The purity and pristine quality of success honestly won in a hard, and often frustrating, fight is absolutely unmatched and unequalled. The specialness and uniqueness of this kind of victory makes me wonder what kind of second class and greatly diminished  joy and truncated pleasure do cheaters enjoy.

It is this kind of moment of uncontaminated joy and pride  that propels me to want to repeat the experience over and over again. So now it is September and within a month we will start the training cycle over again. David Oliver will be joined by some of his old training partners and a few very gifted new ones. He needs the cross-fertilization that comes from having new people and new human dynamics as part of the training group. As they seek ever higher and higher accomplishments, he is inspired and invigorated within himself to do better himself.  As he rejoins his old team mates, he gets a sense of stability and continuity necessary to use as a launching pad to bigger and better things. But it is not all about him. He knows this. He was injured the summer of 2009 and the track and field world did not wait for him. It, to no one’s surprise, but perhaps his disappointment, never missed a beat. It just kept on spinning in its own orbit around and about competition from which he was forcibly  absent. In an effort to catch up, after being left in 2009, in 2010 he was able to establish a new American record( 12.89) in his event and flirt with the world record of 12.87. But his training mates are just like the rest of the sport. They are going to continue to go about their business no matter what he does. It is not just about him.

I am sure that John and Bobby share a lot of the same things I have just shared with you. At the end of the day we are just three track-worldly coaches constantly testing our worthiness and worth against each other.

Good luck John !

Good luck Bobby !

See you in 2011.

I still do not know how to access “spellcheck” on this damned system. If misspelling troubles you, hit the delete button and I’ll understood.

Thanks.

Brooks T. Johnson

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