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May 19, 2017

The Hail Mary of track and field

Cool stuff happens in sports. That was a dumb sentence to explain a phenomena which probably has had doctoral-level theses dedicated to it. But compared to brains of the author’s of those doctoral-level theses, mine is basically full of salvage metal clanking around until they brush a neuron. My point is still valid, though! Amazing moments occur in athletics (I’m using athletics like a high school athletic director, not like a European) that transcend space, time, and what humans believe is possible of mind and body.

In basketball, we have the prodigal three-pointer. The moment Michael Jordan invented the three-pointer, basketball was changed. Michael Jordan did not invent the three-pointer, but someone did, and now we each have some fantastic memory of a game decided on that shot. The three-pointer is beautiful because it is worth three points, not two like normal, lame basketball shots. I’m not here to explain the rules of basketball to you but if you don’t think the ol’ three-ball is a tough shot, I invite you to visit your local court and loft a few up. You will most likely miss them all.

Nothing will ever be cooler than Robert “Mr. October” Horry winning like 12-consecutive NBA titles on game-winning three-pointers. The game winning, series clinching, three-point shot is ICONIC.

In football, we have the Hail Mary. I ain’t talking about the prayer, folks. I’m talking about when your favorite TD-slingin’, model marryin’, Ugg model lofts up the pigskin from half field and it magically (or not magical if you’ve been saying your prayers!) ends up in the hand of one of the good guys for the big win. Like the three-pointer, the chances of this ill-conceived play working out well are slim to none, thus adding to the mystique.

I can picture it now: the football seemingly moving in slow motion through the ether while like 20 grown men play grab-ass in the end zone trying to perfectly time their leaps to snag the ball and cement their place in the Successful Hail Mary Canon. The Hail Mary is LEGENDARY.

In baseball, we have the home run. This play works best when saved for a tie game, in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs. Johhny B. Slugger walks the plate, digs in, spits some tabaccy, and connects for a moonshot to win the game. Johhny is barely able to hobble around the base path because obesity and injury and as he rounds third base, his pals are waiting to dog pile him once he touches home base. This, along with pseudo Imperialism, is the stuff America was built on.

Babe Ruth hit home runs, Mark McGwire literally injected home runs for his own baseball era and now I’m sure someone else is hitting dingers in the long-ball renaissance. Regardless, I don’t follow baseball anymore. The home run is CLASSIC.

“Hey. Idiot. This is a site about running! Quit your bellyaching about all that other junk!”

Ok! Ok. Basically, I’m out here wondering if running has anything that equates to those quintessential All-American moments. Quickly jumping to conclusions, I say it does not. Which bothers me and conveniently allows me to assert myself as the person to create such a thing. Here we go.

From now on, when someone wins a race, everyone else needs to stop running. In every other “cool” sport, once the game is won, the game is over. Everyone stops doing their athletic movements and begin to high-five one another. That’s awesome and friendly. If running wants to get cool, it needs to take a page from sports that people care about.

Imagine if at the Olympic Marathon, once Kipchoge won, everyone else just stopped. MANY PEOPLE WOULD BE  GRATEFUL. That dude from Guatemala who is on pace to run a 2:31 marathon gets an absolute gift from God once he is told to stop moving. Runners are too headstrong to stop the pain on their own. We need serious intervention. I’m offering that. The Everyone Stop Running, You Didn’t Win is GRACIOUS.

This next one is going only going to work if you get off your high horse, and step on to this crazy train I’m driving. Buckle up.
If at any point during a track race – let’s say 1,500-meter to 10,000-meter – a runner gets a 15-meter lead on any other runner, he or she wins. Races can still be won the ol’ fashioned way, but if you want to finish that 10,000-meter race in 6,000-meters to put yourself and the fans out of misery, maybe try to out fox opponent with a surge. Envisioning parents screaming at their kids to pull this trick so they can get home quicker fascinates me. I think this is a very great idea. The BURY HER, LAUREN is CONVENIENT.

The last one is great and will make the world a better place. In championship races, the majority of the race is what the experts refer to as “walking.” The pack sorts out a pre-race gentlemen’s  (or gentlewomen’s!) agreement about how they will bunch up, hold hands, and walk with one another until a 200-meter running moonlighting as a distance runner sprints around the final curve and wins the big one. To say fans are “sick and tired of sit and kick races” is kind of like saying “millions of people are regretting a decision they made last October.” Let’s fix this.

From now on in championship races, the entire field must walk for 93-percent of the race and then they are allowed to run to the finish line. If anyone has two feet off the ground at any moment during the initial 93-percent, they are disqualified and publicly shamed. By allowing the runners to walk more, it will allow them to run faster AT THE END. Which is what we all want. The Save it For the End, Buddy is SMART.

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