- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Buschman rolled this over thoughtfully like a connoisseur sampling wine. "I was reading about you the other day," he answered finally. "You ran way back in the 1952 Olympic Trials, eh? Remarkable."
Buschman beat me in the race, too, by the desperate tactic of beginning his sprint when we had five miles to go in a 5�-mile race. For the remainder of the race I concentrated on the scenery, which included groves of fir trees, a crystallike reservoir and Buschman's footsteps. I planned ahead to the next day's race in Warren, R.I.
At any race, particularly one where valuable prizes are offered, the better runners dress with one eye cocked toward the door lest someone enter who might threaten their chances that day. New England athletes have their pecking order, with everybody more or less knowing who will beat whom. As I walked into Warren's Mary V. Quirk School, the heads turned, and you could see the numbers turning over like digits on a speedometer: from sixth to seventh, from 11th to 12th. Kelly was not there, but sitting on a bench was Jim Keefe, who had run on the U.S.-Russian team several years ago. "Who let this ringer in?" asked Keefe.
I was pleasantly indignant.
With the crack of the starter's pistol the field arranged itself behind a heavily muscled lad who, from the shouts of the crowd, must have been the mayor's son. A police car with flashing light led him, and we all trustingly followed for perhaps three-quarters of a mile when the local lad veered to the right. After we had been standing on the sidewalk for a few seconds we suddenly realized he had quit. Tony Sapienza, who earlier had been passing out more entry blanks to the Sons of Italy race, now had the lead.
In my own analysis of the pecking order before the start I had rated myself no better than fourth, but I forgot to mention this to the other runners. After struggling stiff-leggedly in the rear for four of the five miles I suddenly found myself in the lead. I sprinted home before a crowd of several hundred bathers who had deserted the beach long enough to applaud me.
"It's a course record," a man said.
"Did I run that fast?"
"No, it's a new course."