He also lifted weights to build up the muscles in his back and shoulders, chest and arms. "All running is not in the legs," he explains. "The arms supply lift and drive and give you balance. They have to be strong, too." And frequently, after the coaches ran him away from the field in fear that overwork might make him stale, he went to his room and, strapping the weights on his feet, leaned over against his bed in the angle of a sprint start and jerked his legs upward, striving to develop even more the muscles needed to propel him away quickly from the blocks.
"We finally took the weights away from him," Red Lewis grins, "but we couldn't move the furniture out of his room. Now he goes up there and, for exercise, lifts one end of his bed."
Dave had no intention of ignoring authority, but he had to do what he felt was right. "Once," he said, "when they told me to take the afternoon off, I went to my room and tried to rest. But all I could see was Bobby Morrow out there in Texas some place and he was running, not resting. So I had to get up and get to work, too."
At the Drake Relays he had a long talk with Mel Patton, who helped him solve one of his problems. "I discovered during the indoor season," Dave said, "that sometimes when I was behind in a race, I would try too hard to catch up. I'd strain too hard, forget to relax—and I lost some races I should have won. Patton told me to try some staggered starts with a teammate set out ahead; to practice catching him while remaining relaxed."
The next week, with the help of Teammate Bob Honeycutt, a chunky little 9.9 halfback, Dave tried it. One day he ran 34 starts, each at full speed for about 35 yards. The next day Chambers put Honeycutt on the starting line, Dave six and a half yards back and let them run the full distance. Sime hit the finish line first in 10 seconds flat—and was relaxed while doing it. The time was about the equivalent of a 10.2 100 meters (109 yards, one foot), which, incidentally, is the world record.
Sime takes copious notes for a period of days before each race and files them neatly away in a notebook with the results achieved that weekend. "It's not superstition, you understand," he is careful to explain. "I've just got so much to learn, and I found out that if I do something particularly well I want to be able to remember what led up to it." And from Parry O'Brien, the world's premier shotputter who is also something of a yoga convert, Dave Learned the value of disciplining his mind before a race. "I used to worry," he says, "and when I went to the starting blocks I was as nervous as a cat. Now I try to relax and stay that way, think about everything but running and, when I can, to make my mind a complete blank. I let the others worry and when time for the race rolls around I feel just great—all ready and anxious to run. I haven't got quite as far as O'Brien with it yet," he admits, "but it's coming."
Should you ask him how he would feel if he should get beat, he looks you squarely in the eye and says: "I've been beaten before." He admits he doesn't like it—not even a little bit—but that he can take it. Is winning really that important? "Winning," he says, "can't be overemphasized. It's the most important thing in sports—as long as you also know how to lose."
There was one other problem for Dave Sime to solve before he could concentrate his every effort on winning a plane trip to Australia. Baseball. Football he never thought about again after his initial decision, and no one at Duke ever bothered him to go out for the sport (although Coach Bill Murray has been known to watch Sime walk past, lick his lips a little, shake his head sadly and then turn quietly away). But Sime was at school on a baseball scholarship, and he felt a deep sense of loyalty to Ace Parker, Duke's baseball coach and the man who offered him a chance to go to school without expense in the first place. He also felt a sense of loyalty to his father and Chuck Sime's dreams of the big leagues, and to himself and his plans to become a doctor with earnings he would some day make from this game he was now prepared to turn his back upon. So even after he had become the sensation of the indoor season, even after he had run a handful of 9.4s and beaten Morrow, he planned to split his time this spring between baseball and track.
THE FACTS OF COMPETITIVE LIFE
It was then that Chambers and Lewis took him aside and told him the facts of life about competition on the level he would face this summer. They mentioned boys like Morrow and Jim Golliday and Leamon King and all the others who would bar his way and have been called collectively the greatest group of sprinters ever developed in the world at one time.