"Indians," said Bowerman. "They keep the poachers away."
Using a tiny gray
fly and a deft touch with his rod, he caught half a dozen trout for dinner,
releasing a three-pound rainbow.
"I have a
total disinterest in making money," he said. "Two or three years from
now, when I get thrown out of the university, I may change my tune, but now, so
long as we're eating well, I can't get worked up about it. We have the fish.
There are plenty of acorns around here. And I believe in the ravens. Ravens fed
Elijah when he was hiding in the wilderness from King Ahab."
How does he feel
about being Olympic coach? "Of course it's the greatest honor I could ever
have," he said, "but I'm a little cynical about honors because the
summer is going to be a pain in the lower back. Working with the tremendous
talent we'll have on the team will be a pure joy, but off the track it is
unreasonable to expect everything to go smoothly. With the talent comes the
job is to convince these studhorses that we want to help them, not just tell
them what to do. Olympic coaches don't do much real coaching, certainly not
unless they're asked. Do you know George Frenn? You'd get a hammer in your ear
if you tried to tell him anything he didn't want to know."
woodpecker called raucously from the forest. Bowerman addressed himself to the
question of where the Olympics are going. "The role of all sport," he
said, "is to help people learn competitive responses. Beyond that, the big
international games and tours serve to increase understanding between cultures.
They keep people from being isolated and provincial. Now, you always strive for
excellence. But in the emphasis on winning, some of these goals can be
obscured. For example, we always dominate the Pan-American Games. I have
proposed, and been hooted down, that we continue to send our national champions
to the Pan-Ams, but that the second entrant in each event must be able to speak
one of the other languages of the hemisphere, Spanish or Portuguese. I have no
illusions that many officials agree with me. The USOC generally seems
preoccupied with running up the score.
nice," he said as he cleaned the trout with a pair of Barbara's scissors,
"but you savor that victory for an evening and you wake up the next morning
and it's gone. I believe we compete for every breath we draw, but competing
well is just not to be equated with winning." Bowerman glanced up at his
patiently listening wife. "Barbara doesn't buy all this," he said.
"She says I have to win."
believe he doesn't," she said. "He'll die when he stops. It was an
effort, but I've come to see that there just isn't any other way people could
do these great things like four-minute miles without the drive to win."
eviscerating the fish and turned to look at her. His eyes crinkled. He was