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Bob Dunning: The track and field of my dreams

Count me among those who are disappointed that the Olympics have been postponed, but relieved they have not been scrapped altogether.

365体育投注I have always been fascinated by the incredible talent displayed by Olympic athletes in a wide variety of sporting endeavors, even if I was never any good at any Olympic-type event.

Before the local high-school season was suspended by the coronavirus, I spent several hours watching a track meet at Davis High.

365体育投注There were some very fast kids out there. And some big, strong kids. And some agile kids. Indeed, there wasn’t a slowpoke in the bunch.

To be sure, some of those kids were a heck of a lot faster or stronger than the other kids, but they all appeared to me to be exceedingly fit and up to whatever challenge their particular events presented.

I have always loved sports, both as a participant and as a fan, ever since my days as a toddler when I first saw a ball roll across the living room floor.

365体育投注I’ve always figured that’s the ultimate test of whether a kid will or will not take up sports: if the ball is ignored or the eyes don’t track it, the kid is more likely to earn the Nobel Prize for literature, not throw the winning touchdown pass in a Super Bowl.

But if junior, without prompting from mom or dad, immediately crawls across the floor and grabs the ball before it stops rolling, like a human version of a golden retriever, watch out. An athlete has been born.

Growing up in this town when it was much, much smaller than it is today, I was never a superstar in any sport, but I could field a grounder, hit a tennis ball over the net and make the occasional free throw if I were given a couple of chances.

365体育投注The first time I saw a track meet, over on Toomey Field when dual meets between college teams were common, I was intrigued.

There were more events being contested than I had fingers and toes, with some events wildly different from the others. Gazing out at the whole scene from my seat in the bleachers, there’d be at least half a dozen events going on at the same time. And boy did I anticipate the scintillating mile relay to wrap things up.

To be good in a sport like baseball, everyone has to be able to catch and throw and hit with authority. In basketball, everyone has to be able to put a round ball in a round hoop and keep the folks on the other team from doing the same.

365体育投注But in track and field, the slowest competitor out there might be about to take first place in the shot put.

365体育投注And the fastest entrant out there would likely have placed last in the shot put.

The javelin requires far different skills than the pole vault, even though both involve running with a long stick in your hand.

The mile run way back then didn’t have hurdles, but the 3,000-meter steeplechase did.

And the discus, which I always thought of as the “flying saucer,” was likely to fly off in any one of a million directions, so best not to turn your back on it.

And then there were all those jumping events — the high jump, the broad jump and the hop, step and a jump, some since renamed.

I’d show up at every home meet and sit alone in the stands with the stopwatch my dad had given me on my 10th birthday.

365体育投注My greatest moment came when one of the UC Davis track coaches said the school would buy me a hot dog and a Coke if I’d help set up and take down the hurdles between events. I was in track-and-field heaven.

365体育投注Noting the stopwatch in my hand, the coach asked if I wouldn’t mind timing one of the runners just to see if the time on my watch matched the time on his watch. He could tell I dearly wanted to put that stopwatch to good use and he was kind enough to make me feel important.

Lack of foot speed, arm strength and jumping ability kept me from ever competing in track and field, but I still have that cherished stopwatch and all the memories that came with it.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

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