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Poster: Live From the Florida Relays
Subject: RE: 3:54 Webb? Really?
Body: A lot of what you write rings true when you see him at something like the Florida Relays. I actually felt bad for him; there's the AR holder sitting alone with some Nike handler at the back of the complex behind the secondary pole vault mats at a B-level track meet, while all the other college kids were there with teammates having a fun time on a beautiful day for running.
rocky ground wrote:
I have been watching this for 15 years, ever since his 9th grade year.
There never was going to be an easy exit from the sport for Webb.
Raczko is a knowledgeable coach. I know that is not a popular sentiment on these boards but in the narrowest of senses, he trains his athletes well. The confidence I observed from Webb as an exuberant 10th grader hopping up and down in the local running shoe store proclaiming 4 minutes was just around the corner was sincere. Raczko played a role in that.
But this wasn't going to end well. Webb is a product of the suburbs, and a reasonably well off one at that. Whatever its shortcomings (and there are a lot), the NCAA system at Michigan would have worked well for Webb. It would have led to NCAA titles, and more importantly, memories of a meaningful college life and a degree to boot. The platform for an exit from the sport down the road would have been set. And the delay in adolescence that is college life would have served him well.
Going pro was good for Raczko, and maybe in the short run good for Webb, too. But it isolated Webb. I saw him way too many times on the roads in Reston, running alone with his head down. Running was his job, and like his coach, he did not finish college and progress in life with his peer group. Yes, he was different because of his outrageous talent, but in the end, not all that different. Too much pressure was put on running. The whole thing never made sense to me. Compare his choices to those of a guy like Bob Kennedy's (who had lots of talent but a fraction of Webb's speed), who led a balanced life, and well, I just never understood them.
By the way, he clearly has been struggling with injury. And he may be at the age where recovery takes quite a bit of time. Throw in the mix that he has some propensity to gain weight when injured, and well, what is happening now is not surprising.
I wish him well, and hope he succeeds in his personal life, including marriage and career. This public meltdown is not easy to see.
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