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Author Topic: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)  (Read 982 times)

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Online MICHAELSPAPPY

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Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« on: April 17, 2018, 11:05:31 am »
Somewhere around 1963, my cousin Gary Green would have been a freshman at Paris. In those days they were Class A; now Paris is 3A. Gary was fast and had been a sprinter (100 and 220) all season. Finally, however, in the district meet, his coach put him in the 440, and he set the junior high district record - somewhere around 54.5, if my memory serves me right - in his first attempt at the distance. In his second try at the 440 in the state meet, he set the state record (53.0 if I recall correctly). Probably those numbers or their metric equivalents have been eclipsed by now, but they both stood for a long time. Gary had an outstanding high school career, also. He was third in the meet of champs his junior year, running 49.8. He was injured for his senior season and did not get to compete.

The 1960s and early 1970s were a really strong period for track and field in Arkansas. A lot of the top times in state history still stem from that era.

Offline Gray lizard

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 01:07:49 pm »
The 440 converts well to the current 400.  I bet he ran on cinder track as I did on several in the late 70's early 80's.  I know Subiaco, and Dardanelle had one.

Online MICHAELSPAPPY

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 01:16:03 pm »
I'm sure it was cinder. None of the lower level schools had anything else back in those days, that I remember. If they had that.

Offline beach bum

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 01:39:03 pm »
Somewhere around 1963, my cousin Gary Green would have been a freshman at Paris. In those days they were Class A; now Paris is 3A. Gary was fast and had been a sprinter (100 and 220) all season. Finally, however, in the district meet, his coach put him in the 440, and he set the junior high district record - somewhere around 54.5, if my memory serves me right - in his first attempt at the distance. In his second try at the 440 in the state meet, he set the state record (53.0 if I recall correctly). Probably those numbers or their metric equivalents have been eclipsed by now, but they both stood for a long time. Gary had an outstanding high school career, also. He was third in the meet of champs his junior year, running 49.8. He was injured for his senior season and did not get to compete.

The 1960s and early 1970s were a really strong period for track and field in Arkansas. A lot of the top times in state history still stem from that era.

That 49.8 is insanely fast....

Offline RATTLER43

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 03:26:17 pm »
Yes, it is.  Love these stories.  Keep 'em comin'.

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 05:16:28 pm »
Until his injury, Gary was getting some interest from Fayetteville in the long jump. But, as things worked out he got a degree in physical chemistry, and made a lot more money that way.

Offline Sportshawk

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 11:45:56 am »
The 440 converts well to the current 400.  I bet he ran on cinder track as I did on several in the late 70's early 80's.  I know Subiaco, and Dardanelle had one.
Yep, I remember the ol' cinder and red dog tracks....I think that conversion charts deduct 0.3 seconds from 440 records to convert to 400 metric.  49.8 would be 49.5, really fast for any kind of surface.  There was a lot more dept in track in the 70s.  I ran the 440 in Missouri (50.2) back then in a 3A level class, and 1st in state was 50.0 with 6th 50.5.  We placed 2nd in the 4x440 in 3:26 with several others under 3:30.  There was an Arkansas Democrat Gazette story out years ago by a man who researched state meet results from the 60s through 2010 or so, and concluded that while records were still being set, the 8th place times/marks were constantly slipping.  This year in 4A, 52.94 was 8th, a time that wouldn't likely be in the top 16 in the 60s-70s.

Offline RATTLER43

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2018, 11:59:30 am »
...and I think he is right on the money.  Very top-heavy.   Distance running in NWA may be the only exception.   High jump is so far down it hurts.  My kids rarely get to see a 50'+/150'+ thrower anymore.    Being great takes time and fewer are willing to put in that time.  Just how it is.  That is why I shower so much praise for the ones who are willing nowadays.   

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2018, 03:08:52 pm »
High Jump has had a steady decline, but I thought it had a bit of a resurgence this year..until the state meet. I don't know if you agree, RATTLER. Throws have been declining, too. Alma had a 50 foot thrower every year about 10-15 (3 of them one year) years ago, and I don't know when their last 47 foot thrower was.

Agree with Rattler that 7A Distance has only made distance better in Arkansas. I also think 5A distance has gotten better, but sprints have got worse.

Qualifying standards sort of tell the story (not always) of how a classification's strength in that event is.


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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2018, 04:05:04 pm »
Yes. I saw three jumps recorded early that gave me hope but....  I long for my kids to see 4 or 5 kids at one meet over 66.    Yes, I would take my 48 and 49 throwers to finish well behind Alma and Southside throwers at big meets.    Season is too short to see those big marks by multiple athletes.  Need 3 to 6 more weeks. 

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2018, 09:38:36 am »
The intro to this is Looking Back in Time.   I like it and want to discuss this topic that came up in May: records continuing to be broken but less depth across the board, more participation but lesser overall results.  I have a few opinions on the matter and want your input.

The first point is that our track season is so much shorter than it was in the past.  It basically runs from the first week of March to the first week of May for most track athletes. multi-event athletes and MOC participants go a little longer.

Second point is that back in the day you didn't have 7 classifications.  I would like to combine results from all eras and compare the top 25 in each event.  I am not sure that if you put 5A-7A together that you wouldn't find that there are just as many fast kids as ever.  But in the more technical events (yes, sprinting is also technical, but some other events require technique to even compete.), I believe we are now very top-heavy.  We have fewer elite throwers and high jumpers than I can ever remember.  Those events take time to master.  If you combine the top 25 distance runners from all classes, I believe it is as strong as it ever has been.   I am beginning to question part of my thinking.  I think 7 classes has thinned it per class quite a bit making each class state meet less full of depth.

Third is the amount of kids specializing in other sports.  (I try to talk my kids out of specialization and if they do specialize, wait until 11th or 12th grade.  I have read all sorts of research that leads me to believe that participation in multiple sports is a good thing.)

Fourth - Fewer coaches who are passionate about track and field; fewer coaches are knowledgeable about the sport. In most schools 4A and below, a coach from another sport is required to be the track coach.  Often, they just use it as off-season (which is fine if you are combing off-season with in-season track and field) and attend few if any meets.   You can just tell the programs that have them and some that do not.  This is not meant to put those coaches down.  They most likely interviewed to be a football or basketball coach.

Fifth, Dedication factor.   Track and field is hard work.   Out in the elements, takes weight-training, conditioning, learning, repetition, etc.  Lots of kids are not growing up used to such.

Sixth is the patience factor.  I have found that kids want it to happen fast.  Back in the day, a hurdler knew that it might take a few years to perfect his hurdle technique (especially the ones in other sports who only do hurdle drills during spring time.).  Now, I see some frustration with some of the "natural" athletes who can't get it the first week.  Discus, shot put, high jump, hurdles, triple jump, and long jump are such technical events, they take much time to truly get it down.  We see some long jumps but often out of pure ability.   That 22' long jumper moves on to college and moves on up to 25' by developing technique.   But most of my kids have heard me discuss patience so much that they are usually willing to see it come to fruition.  I have a triple jumper who comes to mind right now.

Lastly on this short list is culture.  I call it the ESPN factor.  Track and field has been around for centuries so it has tradition.  It is in the Olympics so it is world-wide.  During the Olympics, it tends to be the most-watched of all sports so it has some fan attraction.  It ranks second for all sports behind football for participation among high school students in the U.S.  so we have plenty of kids interested in it.  Yet for all of this, the networks show so much less of it than football (I understand the $$$$ factor), basketball, and baseball.   Football is the kingpin and I understand that. Basketball is a distant second for revenue so I understand that. But an article in Business Insider shows that at the college level that track and field and baseball draw almost identical revenue.     I have some parents of kids that I am trying to develop say that it is boring to them.   I think that is a perception.  The only drawback for track and field to the average fan is the length of time for a meet.   I would suggest picking a few events to go watch instead of trying to watch the entire meets when first getting into the sport.  My kids, wife, parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews are into it.  We go and watch entire meets going crazy for all events.  We watch it on TV when televised.  Most of the parents of the kids on my teams have developed a love for the sport as well.   I love it when they come to me after a season ends lamenting the fact that it is over.  They can't believe how much they loved it.   It is a cultural thing. 

I love track and field.  But my first love was baseball.  Then in 5th grade it changed when I first picked up a basketball to play competitively.  Then it evolved into track for me during the 90s.   That is one reason I believe it is cultural.  I still love other sports.  But track and field is so pure.   I line up and run as fast as I can against 7 others at a time. Whoever ran the fastest wins.  I go jump as far as I can. Whoever jumped farthest wins.  Same with throws and such.  Pure.   

Finally, so many folks out there push the narrative of it being an individual sport.  I think they sell it short.  One of my main ways to keep kids loving it is that we ARE a team.  We work out together, condition together, talk together, hang out together, etc. then break apart to work on different events.  TEAM!

Your thoughts?

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2018, 11:38:17 am »
The first point is that our track season is so much shorter than it was in the past.  It basically runs from the first week of March to the first week of May for most track athletes. multi-event athletes and MOC participants go a little longer.

I can speak to this a little bit since my senior year of high school was the first year the season shortened. I believe some of the reasons were to let baseball have that part of the year (the very end of the school year) and because of end of the year conflicts.

For instance my junior year, the last "longer season", our high school seniors sacrificed going to their graduation to win a state championship. There were things like that every year and I think the AAA tried to scale back on this to make less conflict between school, track, baseball/softball, and soccer.

I honestly think a spring sport needs to move to the fall. I'm not sure which one. No one wants their sport to be the one to go up against the powerhouse of football. I don't want it to be track, but is that just being selfish? I mean cross country is already in the fall.

Could baseball/softball move to the fall? Could soccer do it? I feel like soccer is the best option to move to the fall, but I might be wrong.

Can we lengthen the season of track by a week or two weeks again? Training schedules, number of meets, and quality of performances could all be strengthened by this.

Last but not least, the MOC has become a mockery of what it was. I know it wasn't always 100% attendance, but I do remember just 10 years ago when I was competing in high school, that it was regarded in much higher fashion than it is now. Can we incentive the MOC more...or dare I say it...cut it all together?

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 12:09:20 pm »
I can speak to this a little bit since my senior year of high school was the first year the season shortened. I believe some of the reasons were to let baseball have that part of the year (the very end of the school year) and because of end of the year conflicts.

For instance my junior year, the last "longer season", our high school seniors sacrificed going to their graduation to win a state championship. There were things like that every year and I think the AAA tried to scale back on this to make less conflict between school, track, baseball/softball, and soccer. There is some truth in this.  But, the pressure to keep it from interfering with school graduations and testing should be across the board and not just shorten track and field; we have had kids in softball and baseball playing in state during graduation days.  I understand shortening seasons to avoid it but not just for track and field.  I would prefer to lengthen the seasons and have district and state meets the last two weeks of May or the last week of May and first week of June; or just go back to the way it was since baseball and softball still do.  Then have Decathlon/heptathlon, and MOC afterward as always.  They now have the small school state meets Monday-Wednesdays and big schools Thursdays-Saturdays, I believe.  Schools can schedule graduations in advance accordingly.

I honestly think a spring sport needs to move to the fall. I'm not sure which one. No one wants their sport to be the one to go up against the powerhouse of football. I don't want it to be track, but is that just being selfish? I mean cross country is already in the fall.  Track and Cross Country at the same time would be unfair to distance runners, I think.   

Could baseball/softball move to the fall? Could soccer do it? I feel like soccer is the best option to move to the fall, but I might be wrong.   Agreed.

Can we lengthen the season of track by a week or two weeks again? Training schedules, number of meets, and quality of performances could all be strengthened by this.

Last but not least, the MOC has become a mockery of what it was. I know it wasn't always 100% attendance, but I do remember just 10 years ago when I was competing in high school, that it was regarded in much higher fashion than it is now. Can we incentive the MOC more...or dare I say it...cut it all together?   I prefer it not go away.  It has gone the way of all All-Star type events for Arkansas High School.  Many of the "best" choose not to participate for various reasons:  college coaches, risk of injury, during vacation/graduation (all-star/MOC) time, etc.   I agree it isn't what it was, but I wouldn't want to take it away from those who do want to compete.

There is so much that could be done to make it better.    I like your thinking, AT.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 12:19:26 pm by RATTLER43 »

Offline RATTLER43

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 12:17:30 pm »
To expand upon my MOC thinking, I say it is important to not sacrifice that kid who is vaulting 16'9" at state and then goes 17'+ at MOC just because 3 state champions chose not to compete. That distance runner going for sub 9:50 or sub 4:25 just because a few others chose not to show up.  The shortened season is all the more reason to allow these dedicated "few" to have their one more opportunity just as they are peaking.  I completely see your point.  It really speaks to my first point about everything now being top-heavy.  I might even throw in the now NBA theme of no one wants to compete.  If I am not a sure victor, then don't compete.  But that shouldn't keep the others from getting their shots.  Just my opinion. 

But, I want to hear more about your "incentives" for the MOC.  That could be very interesting.

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2018, 01:57:19 pm »
I've thought about how the MOC could be changed up before and answers are tough.

First off, what about some free gear? Not just being sold, but free? I know that would be a hit on someone, but what about free shirt, bag, etc for each participant? I got a medal for going, but it was very generic. Nothing special.

I do know most track and field guys are signed by the time MOC comes around, but I wish we could make it a showcase of our top talent and have scouts from the instate schools come. U of A (doubtful), UCA, UALR, ASt., etc.

Maybe placing at a MOC event qualifies you for state automatically the next year (for underclassmen only, of course)? I know that sounds extreme, but it is an incentive.

I think the incentive needs to come from hyping it up more. I love LH's program and what Coach Koonce does for Arkansas, but I'll be honest when I say they don't put much publicity on it. Publicity and a social media presence might be good for it.

Perhaps we need to identify the problems with the MOC:

1. Little Extrinsic Incentive
2. Late in the year
3. Tired athletes who want to be done with it.

I think we can fix 1, but maybe not 2 and 3.

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2018, 02:22:58 pm »
I've thought about how the MOC could be changed up before and answers are tough.   I agree but tough things can be addressed!  I like your thinking.

First off, what about some free gear? Not just being sold, but free? I know that would be a hit on someone, but what about free shirt, bag, etc for each participant? I got a medal for going, but it was very generic. Nothing special.  100% agree!!!!  I love this idea.  Make the day very special; make it an event for these kids who have poured so much into it.

I do know most track and field guys are signed by the time MOC comes around, but I wish we could make it a showcase of our top talent and have scouts from the instate schools come. U of A (doubtful), UCA, UALR, ASt., etc.   This one is a little tough since most of those schools are in the heat of competition themselves at this time. But, if we planned and asked them to be a part of it, they might schedule around that date!!  Just have to get the ball rolling.

Maybe placing at a MOC event qualifies you for state automatically the next year (for underclassmen only, of course)? I know that sounds extreme, but it is an incentive.  I will visit with coaches about this.  Might be a great incentive.

I think the incentive needs to come from hyping it up more. I love LH's program and what Coach Koonce does for Arkansas, but I'll be honest when I say they don't put much publicity on it. Publicity and a social media presence might be good for it.   This goes back to making it an EVENT.  It needs to be geared up a notch like the All-Star games in Conway.  Make it special for the athletes and their parents.  That will require getting some specific folks on board. 

Perhaps we need to identify the problems with the MOC:

1. Little Extrinsic Incentive  -  this is bigger with kids than ever before.  Kind of like the NBA reference I made earlier.
2. Late in the year - For great athletes, this should not be a problem unless it interferes with graduation.
3. Tired athletes who want to be done with it.  For those who earn trip to MOC, I have had little problem with this and if combined with other incentives, should not be as big of a problem.  As with all of your list, we cannot fix all problems for all athletes, but I think you hit on some key items.  To get very much change requires getting the ball rolling. The AAA is not going to want to put much more money into it so it may require member schools to pick up the mantle of change (and that really means the 50-60 schools really into track and field.)

I think we can fix 1, but maybe not 2 and 3.

It all must start somewhere.  Just a little discussion on this board has already produced some brainstorming for ideas.  If you come up with more, post them.  I am planning on visiting with coaches this fall and winter to see if there is any real support for change.


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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2018, 07:35:29 pm »
Second point is that back in the day you didn't have 7 classifications.  I would like to combine results from all eras and compare the top 25 in each event.  I am not sure that if you put 5A-7A together that you wouldn't find that there are just as many fast kids as ever.  But in the more technical events (yes, sprinting is also technical, but some other events require technique to even compete.), I believe we are now very top-heavy.  We have fewer elite throwers and high jumpers than I can ever remember.  Those events take time to master.  If you combine the top 25 distance runners from all classes, I believe it is as strong as it ever has been.   I am beginning to question part of my thinking.  I think 7 classes has thinned it per class quite a bit making each class state meet less full of depth.

I do wonder how going down to 6 classifications will affect the competitiveness of each classification.

I think this will lead, in the long run, to more competitive state meets and the one classification left alone, 7A (now 6A), doesn't need any help being competitive. I think the AAA got it right by cutting things down in all but football.

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Re: Looking back in time - Gary Green (Paris)
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2018, 06:09:47 pm »
Just looking at Class 2A, you have Melbourne, Gurdon, Junction City, among others moving down into 2A along with Decatur and Acorn moving up.  Yes, the competition level should go up!   I am looking forward to the challenge with my teams this year.   

 

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