"But I think the 9 flat has turned it all around for me," Crockett said in Modesto, a grin sprinting across his face. "Until then, no matter what I did I had never been invited nowhere. Nobody ever invited me nowhere except to Drake and Kansas, and I'll keep going there until I die. But now that I run the 9, I get invited to Modesto and maybe to other places. Running that world record really felt good. The only other time I felt good was when I was 18 and beat Carlos in the AAUs. And I felt good when I got married."
A track shoe representative came by and asked, "What can I do for you?"
"You can give me some golf shoes," Crockett said.
"Yeah, and some football shoes. I think I'm ready for pro football. There's a guy in New Orleans who is smaller than me. He runs between guys' legs. I've always had two dreams: to play football and to sing. Everybody knows I can't sing."
Crockett went to work for IBM last August and now for the first time can compete without financial worries. He was married in 1971, and the next few years were monetarily rough.
"I was always concerned about my wife," Crockett said. "She hated it before when I had to leave for meets because she had nothing to do. Now we have a car, some nice clothing, money in the bank. Now she can enjoy life, and a lot of pressure is off me. I thank God now that He gave me a good job. I feel so secure and relaxed now. And IBM, they hired me before I broke the world record. They had confidence in me. When I came to work after setting the world record they had a sign 18' long across the windows of the building: IVORY CROCKETT WORKS HERE AND WE ARE PROUD. Wow! The chairman of the board congratulated me. Even before that they thought I was super, that I was a good salesman. They always remember that I am a person, that I am Ivory Crockett and not just a number."
At noon on Saturday, Steve Williams arrived from San Diego. The most recently deposed world's fastest human quickly showed that he, too, remembers Ivory Crockett as a person. He was disgusted because many people were refusing to accept his rival's world record as legitimate.
"I feel sorry for him," said Williams. "People don't believe in him and they should. It's sort of sad. People say to me, 'Hey, it's a fluke.' And I say, 'The man did the job, and he did it fairly.' I just have to go him one better."
Williams was not sure he was ready to go one better in Modesto. The previous week he had worked hard in a conference meet and had come out of it with a slight muscle strain in his left thigh. He refused to talk about it.