Monday, July 21, 2008

DJ on Love Affair

I was reading Brianna's blog on her complicated love affair with the sport. Admittedly I did not make it through her whole blog but I got the gist and completely understand the nature of it. All of us in track have this conversation with ourselves whether you coach or are an athlete. The love it takes to do this is great, the rewards are personal and for many are taken for granted.
I will say this, never stop loving this sport, and never base your feelings on your success. And for heavens sake never quit because you are not the best. You quit because you want to, because it has run its course in your life. The sport needs us all and the more people that dedicate their time and lives to this endeavor the better the evolution will be.
I quit against my heart and soul. I quit because life asked me to, not that it demanded it but that it asked. I quit too soon. From that fateful decision came my coaching career, I got lucky. I would have been in this sport forever either way, but luck saved me. I am sending a message to all of you reading this, as you use this sport and it uses you give back to it when you are done running and jumping and throwing. Coach, be an agent, get involved in the politics, but stay in it. The greatest plague of our sport is the sickness of burnout. People leave our sport and never look back. We end up woefully lacking in fresh blood, new ideas, and bodies to fill voids. If you ever wonder why we are so slow to grow as a business just look around and ask yourself where are the friends you traveled with on the road? Are they in the sport or elsewhere claiming they rarely watch the sport anymore.
My answer? I have one teammate that is now a sports psychologist with the USOC. Many of you know him and talk to him, Dr. Ross Flowers. Another friend of mine is a cop. He was the street guy growing up and now he is the law, counseling the youth in the detention centers. Another teammate, is the recreation director at UCLA, running the Wooden Center. There are three oops four of the pro athletes I coached now coaching in some capacity, Jon Drummond, Larry Wade, Kim Carson and Ato Boldon, oops five, Dennis Mitchell, dang six, Gentry Bradley.

Don't walk away from it. grow and evolve with it. It is a guarantee you can only participate on the track for a finite amount of time, but you can give and be a part of this thing far longer. Look at me, I am now in year 31 of my track career, my running ended 17 years ago.

Yeah Brianna called it right, this is some crazy love affair.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

DJ Shout outs

Dayron Robles wow.
Usain Bolt the big man all the sprint junkies in life have been wishing for.
D.O. I am coming for you, don't get comfortable up there. ;) Good work this year man.
Terrence T. three teams in a row. Nuff respect
Torri. I would cry for you but you would not appreciate it lol. Been a long road lady, you have set a high standard for others. Thanks for being loyal.
K Ferg. It can only get better for you from here, this will be the hardest year you will ever face, we will be back.
Jonathan Williams. Man thanks for being disciplined and loyal and calm. Your time is coming in Beijing. Shock and awe.
Marshevette Hooker good work youngster. Made your coach proud, believe me.
JD welcome to the coaching ranks officially. Share the wealth brother. ;)
Tyson Gay keep wowing them out there.
Tyrone Edgar the master of turnover. Your time is coming, keep grinding and the doors will open.
Miki Barber move!
Kai K. welcome to DSports.

DJ live from Finland

You have to love what you do to maintain yourself in it effectively. I love what I do. I am sitting here in Finland working but found out I am not working. LOL Short story with a lot of details.

Let me tell you something, Olympic trials in any country is taxing. And this is where DJ's story begins. I left home in June 24th, and I have been home for all of one night since. US trials was tragic. Here is a brief recap of my 2 weeks in Eugene.
Up first was Torri, the queen. She did her job in grand fashion. A stunning 10.78 in the semi finals is still my lasting memory from the week. It was nice to see her come together right on time because it was looking shaky a few weeks earlier. In the final she got in hurry producing a less than perfect performance. Taking second she qualified and the smile on her face could not have been broader. It has been a long 4 years for her, and making THIS team was part of a final vindicating act.
In the background we had a breakthrough of Alexis Weatherspoon. She managed an 11.08 in the quarter final to make it back to the semi. Pleasantly surprised. All DJ could do was smile, laugh and try to keep the train rolling, hell one more breakthrough and she was looking at a possible trip to Beijing. All good things come to an end, she did not make the final.
Next Leroy Dixon was up. The man in the boot. A talented young man that has yet to realize his own potential, but when he does we all will know. Despite his hurdles and obstacles he made the final, gave a windy 9.99 performance to boot. He had the classic question following the final, as we walked he looked at me and asked, "How does 9.99 get you 6th place?" Welcome to the US trials, the hardest track meet in the world. He still earned his spot and will be making his second straight appearance on a US national team.
Then came David. Mr Neville was always the favorite for the third spot once Angelo opted for the hurdles but no one paid attention, and the TV talking heads were not on their job. In the final he had his favorite lane, 8. lol Coming off of 300 there he was in the lead, and at the line he was an US Olympian. In a pr of 44.63. gratifying is the word here, little known fact, this is John's pride and joy, the 400, nothing makes him prouder.
A word on my boy K Ferg. The young man had the hardest year of anyone. His dad suffered and died from cancer. He got hurt indoors. All in all it took its toll on him, we did not have enough training time, and his fathers illness was too much of a distraction for him to overcome. He will be back next year.
So the second weekend was another emotional moment. My man Ryan Wilson had a great year training, and on June 8th he strained his adductor and psoas, we thought it would be a week, it just got better yesterday. The first round was the first all out hurdle session we had run since his injury. We were just trying to squeeze are way into the final and then see what happened. In the end he could not talk his way around the injury and pain. Again, he will be back. Soon.
Torri looked like a million going in to the 200 but the fatigue and turns were too much. She drew lane one for the final and we pulled her out. Her health was more important out there.

So Monday it was home, wash, sleep, errands, plane to London. UK trials coming up.
Tyrone Edgar,was number 2 going in and the 1st rd was easy. The semi the next day looked great until I found him laying on a table in the back with a lost puppy dog look. Something was wrong with his hamy. Trainers said he was fine, we got up and went to work. He just could not open up, the leg was restricted. He took fourth by a nose. He is still dealing with it right now, disappointed to say the least.
Then it was my queens turn. She had been battling herself since she got to London and all looked to be on the upswing, then the gun went off. Three hurdles were vintage, and after that the race went flat.

So I am in Finland now with the Saudis. Got her last night and found out today none of my boys are qualified because their relay time was not certified. The one guy I do coach that is qualified does not want to go. Now I appreciate the opportunity, but I no longer have a reason to be here. I have Tyrone and Tasha in London needing specific attention, and the facilities there perfect. A good dilemma to have but I have to resolve this issue tomorrow.

So we are all caught up. I am preparing folks for Beijing, not sure DJ will be in Beijing yet though. LOL Irony.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

DJ Super Mix

Here is three weeks in five minutes...

Torri runs 10.78 shutting down. It was simply stunning and I see the woman train everyday. We knew she would handle the field but 10.78 jogging it in was something different. So glad she made the team. I her long and storied career this is the second time she has made the team outright but the first time she will get to fulfill her individual duty. And do not expect to see a three peat of her finals performances.

Tyson Gay is astounding. 9.77 and 9.68w. And it looked like it. He is off the charts and hopefully recovers in time to show up in Beijing.

David Neville. Congrats PK!!!!

Side note. It should have been reported on TV that David was the odds on favorite to win the third and final spot on that team The facts defined it and the TV analyst were knowledgeable to recognize what was coming. He came into the race with a 45.03. He was the fourth fastest from the semis, with Witherspoon being the third but he had pr'd to do that in the semi. Daivd's coach has done this before on numerous occasions. In the semi final he was an easy third. Too bad a bit of unprofessional personal disposition prevented a proper and thorough analysis. And by the way, David's coach is John Smith, as is Torri's. A name missing from the broadcast peculiarly.

Merrit won. no shock. Wariner throws a hissy fit, Shocking.

David Oliver, good work. 2 sub 13s, never seen that before.

Kellie Wells. Poor baby, tragic. Keep your head up, you did a great job this year.

Dawn Harper, the forgotten member of the Kersee hurdle camp.

Denby. Cannot get any closer. damn

I had a terrible week. One hurdler never got the season going. One hurdler got hurt at the wrong time and is yet to fully recovery.

I enjoyed everyday of the meet though.

Now I am in London. It is cold, and wet. I will enjoy it though. Time to get dressed. O, jet lag is a monster when you hit the ground working, whew!!!! Walking sleep.