HIGHTOWER – Misses by a MILE

If it were not so pitifully pathetic,….. it would be laughable beyond belief. Stephanie Hightower, the not soon enough ex president of USATF, in her latest effort to lay waste and ravage U.S. A. Track and Field traditions and values, has again abused her office by”banning” the mile in the U.S.. In support of this latest gross arrogance and ignorance she says, ” Per USATF by-laws, I have the authority to ban any event, at any time for the betterment of the sport. Now that statement comes up for a great deal of skepticism and irony because in actual truth and candor,…. the best thing she can do for the betterment of the sport in America is to take the earliest possible leave of it. Just listen to her further justification of this super stupidity, ” Yes, the mile is still very popular in America, but it is unfair to the other track and field events that receive little if any media coverage.” If this had even a scintilla of logic associated with it, then we should immediately ban the 100 meters due to its preemptive popularity in comparison to the other events. At a time when we are supposed to be developing and promoting the sport itself, why would any person with at least three brain cells working, “ban” one of the most popular events in the sport. Would NASCAR ban Dale Earnhart Jr because he is the most popular driver in the sport. Should basketball again go back to banning the dunk because it overshadows other shots. Baseball should make home runs just another long out because it has more popularity than doubles and singles,…. oh mercies of mercies,  just think of how the irreparable damage and savaging home runs do to the egos, self-images, and delicate psyches of   those who do not hit home runs. By this latrine lawyer logic, home runs are literally killing the game of baseball and the new baseball commissioner better follow Hightower’s lead before it is too damned late !

In a recent blog I accused Hightower of being a megalomaniac, even employing the definition form WEBSTER’S NEW COMPACT DICTIONARY which defines megalomania as “…the delusion that one is great or powerful…”.  To that I added my own corollary “…more explicit in the definition of megalomania is,…above and beyond the delusion of grandeur and power, is the sense that in addition to being powerful there is also the compulsion and assumption that one is also manifestly “right”,…and being both unerringly “right” and powerful permits actions that would otherwise be unthinkable and unfathomable,…due to their outrageous and inappropriate nature and character.” Jesus !! Does that not hit it right on the head ?

As a coach who has had both a female ( Patti Sue Plumer ) and a male ( Jeff Atkinson ) make the finals of the Olympic 1500, and another athlete ( Robin Campbell ) win a national senior championships at a mile, and like so many other people intimately involved in the sport, I do not see one event ( mile – 1500 ) as mutually exclusive in relation to the other. Further, the shallowness of the argument that the mile takes away too much attention from other events is simply too skimpy in nature to be taken seriously as a legitimate perspective.

Bottom line,we have an organization that is lead by a president, CEO, and board of directors that are so inept and inattentive to the needs of its constituents, that malfeasance and miscarriages of governance are now routinely acknowledged and accepted. In a recent NEW YORK TIMES article the respected columnist and economist, Thomas Friedman states, “People who go ‘all the way’ like this will one day go over a cliff. They will regret it. So will the rest of us “.

Does missing by a mile constitute going over a cliff ?


Brooks T. Johnson

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