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"Dad drove me home," says Dean, "and on the way he made some reference to increasing tensions...."
"So he got home and went up to his room and turned on the radio and started tying flies," says Brian. "And all he heard for 10 minutes was music that we'd recorded...."
"Then," says Dean, "I heard, 'We interrupt this program for this urgent message. Idi Amin of Uganda has launched six warheads against key 'West Coast cities. We have retaliated but the missiles will reach the U.S. in 17 minutes.
"Mitch had held a cup beside his mouth when he read it," says Brian, "and I'd sat next to him typing to make it sound real...."
"And I came barreling out of my room," says Dean, "shouting that we had to clear out of there. We had to get to the shelter at city hall! We had to get canned food! Then I noticed Mitch with his head in the closet, shaking. And Mom wouldn't look up from the cake she was stirring. And I knew I'd been had. Had like no other time. It was wonderful. I was so mad."
The remarkable thing about this story, if you think about it, is that the Crouser parents took such an active part. In fact, the longer you know these young men, the more curious you become about their parents. A couple of weeks ago they sat in the rain watching Dean compete for Oregon in a dual meet against Oregon State.
Larry Crouser, age 48, at 6'5", 233 pounds, might simply be an older brother, although his sons get their fair coloring and open smile from their mother, Marie, 46, who was born in Sweden. He's vice-president of a title insurance company and threw the javelin 220 feet in the Army. His children saw pictures of him doing this and wanted to throw, too. "Naw, you wouldn't be serious," he told them. When they persisted, he set up a little weight program for them to follow to prove their sincerity. Ultimately he would build throwing circles in the backyard, and one day Marie came home to see a 20-foot high discus net—"an eyesore that stayed there four years" is how she describes it.
Dean wins the shotput with his first throw, 65'8½", and comes to sit with his folks. "Hi, Flammo," he says to Larry, "Hi, Ghidra," to Marie. His father pulls up Dean's sweat-shirt hood to keep off the rain. "How's your shoulder?" Dean asks.
"I'm starting over," says Larry. "Lifted 20 pounds yesterday."
Dean explains that his father lifts weights in the garage, but without spotting must limit himself to 225 pounds. "But when one of us is home, he goes for his PR. Over Easter with Mitch he went for 365 and tore his right pectoral and the attachments of the biceps and deltoid." He pulls the hood off his head.