Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Nothing political here

Just a brief commentary on the state of track in the United States.

For almost a century one of the highlights of the indoor track season has been the Millrose Games. Held in the various versions of Madison Square Garden, the Millrose Games has always been an important meet, and is home to one of the premier indoor events anywhere, the Wanamaker Mile, which over the years has attracted legendary middle distance runners from Ireland, Kenya, and across the United States. I've been to the Millrose Games, and there is no question that it's a great event.

The Garden's seating capacity is about 20,000.

When I was in high school I used to run at a place we just called The Armory, which really was an armory for the 103rd Engineers. It had a flat 220-yard wooden track and if you fell you could pick up a splinter a foot long, generated from the actual army jeeps and trucks that were often parked on the floor. Its seating capacity is numbered in the hundreds.

This year the people who run the Millrose Games announced that this year's meet is going to be held at the Armory, and not the Garden.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Armory and it's now a great place to see a meet, mainly because every seat is close to the track. They have a beautiful new banked track and it's the site of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. In the last year of my father's life we went to the Indoor Nationals together and saw the greatest sprint finish I've ever seen.

Still, if they could attract thousands the meet would still be at the Garden,and not the Armory. It's probably an inevitable demotion, but it's still kind of sad to see it.

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