So does Matson, who seems to be quietly enjoying Feuerbach's challenge. It's a refreshing change. Last year, outdoors, Matson won all 10 of the meets he entered. Now 25 and recently a father for the second time, he still trains as hard as ever: twice a week throwing, twice a week working with weights, once a week competing. Until Feuerbach came along his only rival was boredom, and that was running a poor second, too. As long as there was his own world record to better, he always managed to get the adrenaline turned on in a meet. Most of it, anyway.
"I had always hoped that I would never get to a point where I was satisfied to win with just a 67," Matson said a few hours before his fourth meeting with Feuerbach this year. "In the past I always felt I could have moved the mark out a little farther. Now with Al pushing me...." He laughed. "I just hope he keeps pushing and doesn't start pulling. Of course, it's always easier to go into competition chasing someone instead of trying to stay ahead. His record at San Francisco has given me something to chase. And now I'm really looking forward to the outdoor season, when we can get real serious."
That morning a friend had stopped at Matson's breakfast table to say hello. Upon leaving, he said, "Say, that kid from Emporia is really throwing that thing out there."
Matson admitted that the kid from Emporia was doing just that. After the friend had gone, he shook his head. "I sure have been hearing a lot of that lately," he said. "I guess a lot of people want to see me get beat. It's kind of a funny feeling. But I think there is a lot more interest this year, more excitement, and that's good for shotputting."
The Matson-Feuerbach duel has been more than good. In the first three meetings between the two Feuerbach was named the meet's top athlete once, Mat-son twice. That hasn't happened to shot-putters since Matson took over in 1965, if ever.
At the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Feuerbach was the first into the ring. He looked awfully quick. "He's not tall," said Matson, "but because of his size I think he can move better in the ring. He's not so cramped in there. And he can drive harder across the ring. If I drove that hard I'd wind up five yards on the other side of the toeboard."
Feuerbach threw a 66'4�". His first throw is always cautious. "I just want to get a mark," he said.
By contrast, Matson likes to go all out on his first throw. "They talk about psyching an opponent," he said. "The only way I know how to do that is to blast out that first throw." His first throw was 65'1", which didn't psych anyone. Then, on his third attempt, Matson hit 66'8�" to take the lead.
Feuerbach stepped in, the shot cradled in his right hand. Shotputting is the only thing he does right-handed. Spin. Flick. Grunt. 67'3�". He looked at Matson. "That Randy," he said, "he's cool. Nothing shakes him."
Unshook, Matson hit 68 feet, and the crowd roared. After Feuerbach did 67'8", Matson finished with 68'2�", a meet record. The crowd approved every inch of it. "I was glad to win," said Matson. "And I sure was glad to see that last one of his fall short. This is getting to be some duel." It was hard to tell if he was more elated by the victory or the challenge.